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Analysis: Should Kathleen Kane Resign?

Kathleen-Kane-portrait1From low whispers that have gradually grown into clear declarations, all around the commonwealth people are asking what should be done about Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

Newspaper editorial boards from Philadelphia to Harrisburg to Pittsburgh have suggested, or outright declared, that the AG has no credibility left and must resign.

Still, defenders protest that Kane is being punished not for any illegality or wrongdoing but because she doesn’t play the political game as well as others. That her mistakes and missteps alone are improperly being considered grounds for removal. They will point out that her alleged crime, leaking material to embarrass a political opponent, is standard practice.

As her lawyer Lanny Davis once put it, the belief is that this crusade is being led by “some men with grudges.”

“There are a group of guys who really are angry, who really do not want me there,” Kane told Maria Panaritis in a profile piece in Sunday’s Inquirer “and they are doing everything they can to remove me.”

Her supporters contend that the media is too focused on Kane’s verbal gaffes and staff turnaround and incorrectly interpret these phenomena as signs that she isn’t just not up to the job.

For instance, when the Patriot-News called for her resignation, they didn’t point to any one reason but rather contended that so many stones have been “piled on the scale of judgment against her” that she simply has to step down.

This begs the question, is mere incompetence grounds for resignation? If it were, the Attorney General shouldn’t be the only public official under such scrutiny.

To really consider all these questions, it’s best to take a step back and view things clinically.

Kane’s disclosure of information to the Philadelphia Daily News is not a strange or unique event. Rather it is part of one rather intense and petty feud with Philly prosecutor Frank Fina.

Furthermore, the Attorney General has yet to be indicted and it is possible, though unlikely, that she won’t face trial at all.

The fact is it’s very difficult to imagine Kathleen Kane ever resigning. Even if she were indicted and on trial she would likely still stay in office (although this undoubtedly would not be in the best interest of the state).

It seems increasingly likely that Kane will play for time and seek vindication from the voters next year. Additionally, this scenario would be welcomed by both political parties.

Several Democrats have held back from a Senate campaign in the hopes that the AG would continue to self-immolate. As a result, Kane is the rare incumbent especially vulnerable to a primary.

Meanwhile, Republicans are praying that Kane is the Democratic nominee next year. She would almost assuredly be the easiest candidate to beat in November 2016.

So Kane won’t be stepping aside and the legal case is currently up in the air. Does that mean we should simply just wait until May 2016? Not necessarily.

Amid the myriad of news concerning the Attorney General, two troubling allegations have gone overlooked.

1. According to a report from the Philadelphia Inquirer, Kane’s ex-Deputy Adrian King emailed his boss advising against that infamous leak. Kane, however, told the grand jury that King agreed with her decision.

2. Another Inquirer report on Kane’s decision to shut down the Philly sting operation revealed that she cited an affidavit and interview notes to back up her claims of racial bias. The problem is that neither the affidavit or the notes exists and the only documentation of the interview was written after Kane’s public claims.

The first issue is the basis of the perjury charge against Kane and should (hopefully) be adequately dealt with. The second issue, though, has largely gotten lost in the shuffle. If the Attorney General is not indicated or is cleared in a trial, these allegations are serious enough that the State Legislature must look into them and begin impeachment proceedings if either of these charges are true.

All this is to say that no matter how many call for it, Kane’s departure is no fait accompli. Unfortunately, any use of the word “should” in public matters is pointless. Therefore, so is any declaration that the Attorney General should resign.

It does not matter what should happen, or even could happen, all that ultimately counts is what does happen.

19 Responses

  1. Gave up on emails to Public Officials, after Kane said, she is at #impasse with my dispute with @Comcast.

    I’m now taking my dispute to Social Media.

    Comcast may have bought her when DL Cohen financed her campaign for AG. Or, well you figure out why Corporations can publish Fraudulent statements(LIES) on WWW and get away with it.

    Follow me at @FrankLeeTweets on Twitter, Franklee Speakin on Facebook.

  2. “I am not unethical enough, and I am not dumb enough to break the law. I would never do anything illegal. Never.”
    Attorney General Kathleen Kane

    Did AG Kane’s Office help Comcast coverup Criminal Fraud’

    If you would like more info on AG Kathleen Kane, contact me.

    I believe, her office is helping media giant Comcast cover up criminal fraud on a National level.

    George Lee Swearingen

  3. This is what you get when you hire soneone with no experience into a critical position. Reminds me of another disasterous hire at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
    This woman married a ton of money and used her husbands money and lies about Penn State to go from an inexperienced assistant DA to Top Cop. She became the most political AG in our lifetimes. What a sham, what a fraud. She should get a new toothbrush. She mayneed it for cleaning the bathrooms in the Federal Pen.

  4. Big FOOLA, Is that all you crumb liberals have left. The typical Race and Gender Card. She has more to worry about that the Ferman investigation. Why do you think Her staff members keep resigning? Do you think that they might be talking to investigators from a different agency? They are all turning on Her.

  5. @ Big Moola:

    How dare you invoke the classic-Dem rationalization, moral relativism, to rationalize the alleged-misconduct of AG-Kane?

  6. Attorney General Kane:

    How dare you exercise the same prosecutors discretion that the Republican’s Old Boys in OAG used for 32 years !!!!

    How dare you use a Political maneuver(leaks) on former Political Appointees of the Republican controlled White Mens Club that was OAG for 32 years !!!!! (only they are allowed to do that)

    How dare you as a Women find Pornographic images of women and children on state owned computer equipment used by the Agency charged with enforcing crimes against women and children to be offensive !!!!!1

    How dare you think that targeting 42% of the Black delegation by White Republican Prosecutors (whom happen to be Democrats) from Philadelphia in the House of Representatives might look biased or racial even!!!!!!

    How dare you not resign after everything they’ve done using the Media the Courts and their Political Activists to try and force you to resign !!!

    How dare you continue to daily represent the 3,125,000 Pennsylvanians that elected you (isn’t that who they are really afraid of) to represent them !!!!!

    How dare you be embarrassed by the first ever disappearing memo or hand written note (how many Old Boys still work for OAG) about 1 case !!!!!!!!

    Well Ms Attorney General I say you’ve made mistakes …..The first one being that after being sworn into office you chose to be a Prosecutor not a Politician !!!! Everyone knows the Politicians would have cleaned house of the Old Boys Club on day one!!!!!!

    Ms Attorney General Kane please keep up the excellent work on behalf of the 3 plus million of us that believe in you !!!!!

  7. She fired a selected few of her staff for petty computer jokes, and she has the nerve to not resign.. She better look in the mirror.

  8. @ DD:

    The release was selective and secret, prospectively; she characterized it [just as does Hillary] to befit her needs, retroactively.

    Guzzardi may be reflecting his fealty for AG-Kane, but the charges should NOT be dropped, even if she resigns.

  9. The newspapers are hypocritical here: “Kane should resign! She leaked stuff to us! We printed the stuff! We sold newspapers! We made money! We’ll continue to print her leaks, but she should resign for making those leaks!”
    That said, the question isn’t what Kane should or should not do. The question is whether the office of attorney general can continue to function with her in charge. So far, barely, it seems to be functioning. We ought not lightly to set aside the results of elections. She should resign if convicted, or if she plans a plea bargain. Otherwise, no.

  10. I predict that Kane will resign in return for a deal dropping all charges. And then….

  11. Robert-
    The release was neither selective nor secret. Kane has not only admitted to the release but defended the release as legal and within her purview (with the unredacted name being an unintentional error). Kane had no beef/grudge with the unredacted guy (I don’t remember the actual name), so releasing his name intentionally makes no rational sense if you believe the worst of her.

  12. The points herein are amplified on an earlier page which, in turn, relates to earlier pages that document how corrupt AG-Kane has been, notwithstanding the intransigence of Dem-hacks such as DD.

  13. She abused the office and betrayed the public’s trust. You can’t be the enforcer of the laws and do what she did. I hope it goes to verdict.

  14. Dem-Apologists:

    Leroy dances-around, Cohen writes in generalities, and DD still avoids attempting to rationalize why AG-Kane would selectively [and secretly] release secret info to one newspaper [and doesn’t deny that it was intended to embarrass a political-enemy].

    This is no way to run the OAG, and you guys know it!

  15. Elroy- Well said

    Nick – Regarding point #1: That email preceded the leak by months, and the details of what items to be released are not part of what’s been leaked. Did King have later discussions with Kane in the intervening months where he changed his mind, changed the list of material to release, or merely gave Kane the impression he was on-board? Any of these examples would be consistent with her testimony.

    Regarding point #2: I lose memos and hand-written notes about meetings all the time. Everybody seems to be complaining that her office is disorganized and run poorly, but when she can’t find a memo it’s suddenly a criminal conspiracy. Which is it?

  16. The meta-issue here, and in evaluating the performance of other law enforcement leaders, is that of discretion. The legislature’s response to issues of discretion has been to rely on it where activities such as wiretapping and statewide grand juries have previously been banned, and to greatly restrict it in areas where it has been well used such as pardons and sentencing.

    But no matter what restrictions are placed on discretion, it still inherently exists. It’s the story of the old baseball umpire who says of calling balls and strikes “it ain’t nothing until I call it.”

    Kathleen Kane clearly believes in the old idea that the duty of a prosecutor is to do justice, not to gain the greatest possible number of convictions. She knows that she is not the only one who believes that: her predecessors did too, and there are cases to prove that. But what justice is, if it is not obtaining the possible number of convictions, needs to be more fully fleshed out to be understood and to be appreciated and/or objectively evaluated.

    What the limits of law enforcement discretion should be is not a simple question to be settled definitely by partisan warfare, “gotcha” journalism and grand jury proceedings. It is a very serious question that deserves much more academic research, more utilization of existing research, and full study by the legislature and the law enforcement community.

  17. Any Democrat, man or woman, to halt the 32 year monopoly of the Republican controlled Office of the Attorney General would have faced the same challenges.

    Let’s not forget. The destruction of millions of OAG internal emails by the Republican AG led to the discovery of the pornography network in our judicial and law enforcement community. And the result is a judicial gag order protecting a Republican prosecutor.

    Prior Grand Jury leak investigations were lead by prosecutors from the Republican controlled OAG. Any wonder why the judges never exposed the guilty?

    Sandusky was prosecuted while The Second Mile and Corbett’s political donors were free of the investigation.

    During the 32 years of Republican control, Attorneys General would benefit from staff development inside the office. A new Attorney General from the Democrat Party would be faced with building a staff from scratch. The old boys network has made her job even more difficult.

    Newspapers are swirling around Kane in order to sell papers. In the past, there has been investigations called to stop Grand Jury leaks, why has the public never heard of a single perpetrator? And why have the papers failed to question this practice?

  • Understanding that basic education funding should/will be first, what should be the next highest priority for the General Assembly?

    • Raising The Minimum Wage (25%)
    • Legalizing Adult-Use Marijuana (24%)
    • None of the above. Something Else. (20%)
    • Economic Development (14%)
    • Higher Education (8%)
    • Public Transportation (8%)
    • Workforce Opportunities and Innovation (2%)

    Total Voters: 51

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