Shapiro elected at­tor­ney gen­eral; DePasquale back as au­di­tor gen­eral

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS -

Penn­syl­va­nia’s next at­tor­ney gen­eral will be county Com­mis­sioner Josh Shapiro, who’ll take over an of­fice wracked by tur­moil over the ar­rest and con­vic­tion of a pre­de­ces­sor.

Vot­ers on Tues­day chose the Demo­crat from the Philadel­phia sub­urb of Mont­gomery County over Repub­li­can state Sen. John Raf­ferty.

He’ll be the agency’s fourth leader since Au­gust, when Demo­crat Kath­leen Kane stepped down af­ter be­ing con­victed of leak­ing se­cret grand jury ma­te­rial and ly­ing about it.

Kane has been sen­tenced to 10 to 23 months in prison.

The at­tor­ney gen­eral is Penn­syl­va­nia’s top-rank­ing law en­force­ment of­fi­cial. The agency has more than 800 em­ploy­ees.

In other state races, State Au­di­tor Gen­eral Eu­gene DePasquale is be­ing re­turned to the job to serve four more years as Penn­syl­va­nia’s fis­cal watch­dog.

The Demo­cratic in­cum­bent bested three chal­lengers Tues­day to head an of­fice with more than 400 em­ploy­ees and a bud­get of more than $50 mil­lion.

The agency keeps tabs on state spend­ing and rec­om­mends changes to how gov­ern­ment agen­cies op­er­ate.

Au­di­tor gen­eral has been a po­lit­i­cal launch­ing pad in re­cent years. The last three peo­ple elected to hold the po­si­tion all later ran for higher of­fice.

Also, Demo­crat Joe Torsella will be tak­ing over an of­fice marred by scan­dal af­ter win­ning the race for Penn­syl­va­nia trea­surer.

Torsella, of Mont­gomery County, beat Repub­li­can busi­ness­man Otto Voit of Berks County in Tues­day’s elec­tion.

The 53-year-old Torsella was most re­cently a pres­i­den­tial ap­pointee to the U.S. Mis­sion to the United Na­tions.

The trea­surer over­sees the 360-em­ployee agency that pro­cesses $90 bil­lion in pay­ments ev­ery year and is cus­to­dian of over $100 bil­lion of pub­lic money. The of­fice also has been drawn into the state’s bud­get fights and strug­gles with deficits in re­cent years.

Two of the last three elected trea­sur­ers are em­broiled in scan­dal. One, Rob McCord, pleaded guilty last year to fed­eral at­tempted ex­tor­tion charges. Bar­bara Hafer is fac­ing fed­eral charges in a case that re­volves around trea­sury in­vest­ment con­tracts.

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