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.”
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.