September 23, 2015

Kane, Temporarily Disbarred, Gets Extended Summer Vacation

Considering the fact that Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane is facing numerous criminal charges, including leaking grand jury testimony to the press and then lying to a different grand jury to cover it up, it’s been a long summer for Kane.

Lucky for her, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has extended the embattled general’s summer vacay!

In a unanimous decision on Monday, the Supreme Court suspended Kane’s bar license, effectively making it impossible for Kane to fulfill her official duties. Because the State Constitution requires the attorney general to be a member of the State Bar, some are questioning what duties she can actually perform at the State’s top law enforcement agency. The New York Times reports:

“What can she do administratively?” asked G. Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall College. “Can she hire and fire employees? Appoint a temporary A.G. to sign legal documents?”

Not only has the Governor and other Democrats called for Kane’s resignation, but now state legislators are considering pulling out a 19th century state law that has never been used:

“Republican legislators have said that they are studying the possible use of a little-known provision in state law, which holds that officials can be removed by the governor “for reasonable cause” with the vote of two-thirds of the Senate.

Drew Crompton, general counsel to the State Senate Republicans, said the provision, which was written in the late 19th century, had never been used but that Ms. Kane’s situation presented unusual new challenges.”

But don’t expect Kane to step down anytime soon. As The Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial Board implied, Kane is likely to dig in.

“For much the same reason, although the already clear case for her resignation has only become clearer, Kane can be expected to continue to cling to the public payroll despite her increasingly obvious unfitness for office and the repercussions for the commonwealth. The legislature and Gov. Wolf should therefore take steps to remove her from office as prescribed by the state constitution. Kane, like any other citizen, does have a right to answer the charges against her in court. But she is not entitled to do so as the state’s top law enforcement official.”

As if Kane did not look bad enough, a spokeseman for her office yesterday said the attorney general is now ready to release the controversial emails that started this whole mess. Despite telling a Commonwealth Court just last week that the emails were not public documents. As political science professor, Christopher Borick, points out this delayed enforcemeent “reeks of desperation.”

It’s time for Kathleen Kane to get the hint and take a permanent vacation.