There are a couple ways to view Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane's rejection of a long-term contract sought by Gov. Tom Corbett that would let a British firm manage the $3.5 billion state Lottery.
On the one hand, it's an attorney general doing her job as watchdog for the state's residents and taxpayers, particularly in regard to the way the government acts.
After all, her job is to be the check and balance on state government.
On the other hand, the rejection amounts to barely disguised, politically motivated obstructionism.
The Democratic Attorney General says parts of the Lottery deal contravene the state constitution or are not authorized by state law.
Maybe she's correct. But the timing for all this seems suspicious.
A new attorney general takes office less than two years away from a gubernatorial election and, presto, the management fees of Lottery contracts are being questioned.
Perhaps Corbett could have been more transparent in striking his deal with Camelot.
But the bottom line is that there is a rising demand for the seniors programs that the Lottery funds and in a state with a large elderly population the lottery needs to be even more successful to keep up with its obligations.
Corbett believes private management can do that.
And therein lies the rub, in our view. It seems that every time anything is done that transforms a government role into a private responsibility, there is a gnashing of teeth.
In this case, we're talking about a program that includes the selling of millions of tickets through private outlets in countless different venues. That seems to be fine with everyone.
But the prospect of placing the Lottery management in private hands is a big constitutional issue.
We hope these constitutional issues are legitimate, but rejection feels like an attempt to accomplish something that couldn't be accomplished legislatively.
- Williamsport Sun-Gazette