The ESPN story had been online less than 24 hours. Shanin Specter was astonished as the calls and emails were still pouring in Thursday. Hatred of Donald Trump, he surmised, was driving it all.
It didn’t help that the New England Patriots were in the mix, too.
The gist: Trump in 2008 reportedly told Specter’s father, then-U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, “there’d be a lot of money in Palm Beach” if he dropped his push to examine the NFL’s controversial handling of the Patriots’ 2007 “Spygate” scandal.
Shanin Specter told ESPN and Clout his father informed him in 2008 that Trump was a messenger for Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Arlen Specter died in 2012, four years before Trump was elected president.
“If Trump was dead and my father was living this wouldn’t be a story,” Specter said. “I’ve gotten emails from across the country, thanking me for speaking out. I didn’t speak out. A reporter called and asked me some questions.”
Specter still recalls how angry his father was at Trump’s offer. He scoffed at denials by the Patriots and a Trump adviser.
“I just never thought it was that big of a deal,” said Specter, cofounder of the powerhouse personal-injury law firm Kline & Specter. “Stuff like this happens in Washington all the time. It wasn’t the only time my father felt someone had crossed the line with him in conversations about his official business and mixing in campaign contributions.”
Still, his father was disappointed in Trump, a friend since the 1980s. And he wondered if the improper videotaping of coaching signals by the Patriots in a New York Jets game also played a role in the Eagles’ Super Bowl loss to the Patriots in 2005.
“He was angry that it involved the Patriots, who he absolutely despised,” Specter told Clout. “That was his position as an Eagles fan, not as a U.S. senator.”
Specter said ESPN did “an unbelievable job” sifting through his father’s papers, where a reporter found a 2008 note to Trump suggesting he seek a cabinet position in a presidential administration.
“How quaint is it to think about Donald Trump being encouraged to be a cabinet secretary,” Specter said. “Think of how much better we’d be as a country if that’s all that happened.”
Police group spent big on consultants in losing to Krasner
A group of retired Philadelphia police officers set two goals last summer: counterpunch billionaire George Soros’ power in electing progressive prosecutors, and prevent Philly District Attorney Larry Krasner from winning a second term.
One year later — with almost $1 million raised — Protect Our Police PAC outspent Soros to influence last week’s Democratic primary. But Krasner defeated challenger Carlos Vega by a ratio of 2-1.
Protect Our Police president Nick Gerace said the group is “very proud of our hard work to hold Larry Krasner accountable,” but declined to answer questions.
» READ MORE: How Philly DA Larry Krasner won — and won big
The group, which has consistently missed filing deadlines to show how it raises and spends money, filed four overdue campaign-finance reports Saturday. It raised more than $932,000 in 11 months and spent 57% of that on consultants. A half million came from billionaire Timothy Mellon, a Republican megadonor.
The biggest spend: $419,232 for Media Stream Consulting LLC, a firm set up in Bensalem last August. An attorney for the firm, which placed $134,000 in television buys in the race, said its owners want to remain anonymous.
Gerace, who was paid almost $62,000, refused to identify the consultant who last month issued a fund-raising email that blamed George Floyd for his own murder by a former Minneapolis police officer. The group apologized and said it fired the consultant.
John Oliver zeros in on Chuck Peruto
Chuck Peruto knows a thing or two about getting attention. That’s made for a rocky May for the longtime defense attorney and Republican nominee for Philadelphia district attorney.
John Oliver, host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, on Sunday used a video on Peruto’s campaign website to cast him as an example of “extreme cartoonishness” being “a selling point” for some candidates following Trump’s presidency. Oliver zeroed in on Peruto’s claim that he “understands Black people just about as well as a Black person” because he grew up in West Philly.
“The whole video is 35 minutes long and shot in a single take with real ‘no one in my family wants to listen to me anymore, so they showed me how to use a webcam’ energy,” Oliver said.
Andrew Giuliani, a Trump staffer, and Rudy Giuliani’s son, took some lumps, too, for his New York gubernatorial bid.
“The point is, yes, these people look like clowns,” Oliver concluded. “But it’s important to remember that clowns, while funny are also f—ing terrifying.”
Peruto tells Clout he likes Oliver but doesn’t think the comedian’s staff did enough research.
“My gripe is, if you take anybody’s website and use a few phrases out of context, you can make anyone look like Attila the Hun,” Peruto said.
Peruto, a former Democrat who supported Krasner four years ago but now disagrees with what he sees as lenient plea deals in gun gases, ran unopposed in the Republican primary. Less than 10% of the city’s Republicans came out to vote in that election.
Clout provides often irreverent news and analysis about people, power, and politics.