After transit group’s urging, Gov. Wolf replaces Port Authority board member

By: Ed Blazina, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 11, 2019

A group of transit advocates and elected officials got half of their wishes Thursday when Gov. Tom Wolf removed Robert Kania from the Port Authority board.

The move came hours after Pittsburghers for Public Transit and a dozen others called for the governor to remove Mr. Kania from the 11-member board because he is under review for possible violation of state campaign laws. They asked that a transit advocate be named as his replacement, but the governor instead appointed his southwestern regional director, Jessica Walls-Lavelle, on an interim basis.

Mr. Kania had been appointed to a four-year term in September 2013 by former Gov. Tom Corbett and remained on the board after the term expired.

Mr. Kania’s conduct is under review after a group called Campaign for Accountability filed a complaint Monday with the Allegheny County Board of Elections and District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. The complaint says Mr. Kania was part of a group that failed to register with the state before it spent money to work against unopposed Democrat Sara Innamorato in her successful bid for a state House seat.

Campaign for Accountability claims Mr. Kania was part of a group known as Americans Against Socialism that encouraged voters to write in the name of incumbent Dom Costa, who Ms. Innamorato defeated in the primary. The complaint says the group spent more than $250 on the campaign but failed to register with the state as required by election law.

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