Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane — a Democrat — is planning to run for reelection as the state’s top law enforcement officer in 2016 despite being under investigation for corruption.
Early January 2015, a grand jury recommended criminal charges against her for political corruption.
Kane is alleged to have violated grand-jury secrecy rules by leaking investigative material in a bid to embarrass political enemies, sources said.
The Grand Jury recommended charges including perjury and contempt of court. She has denied any culpability.
Kane won in a landslide in 2012 and was the first woman and a Democrat to be elected Attorney General.
It isn’t the first time she has been accused of corruption in her short tenure.
Independent Sentinel ran a story about Kane last April describing how she was bringing her own brand of corruption to the office she holds — specifically her refusal to investigate corrupt black Democrats.
In 2013, newly elected Attorney General Kane shut down an ongoing sting operation. It was a political investigation begun in 2010 by prosecutor Frank G. Fina and then Attorney General Tom Corbett.
With Kane at the helm, the sting was discontinued, and no one was charged with a crime even though the investigation had succeeded in getting audio and videotape evidence against a Philadelphia judge and four members of the city’s State House Delegation, all Democrats, all black, all accepting money from a lobbyist named Tyron B. Ali.
The sting investigation had been led by Fina who had had a string of successful prosecutions, including the child sexual abuse case against former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. But after Kathleen Kane assumed the Attorney General’s post and the sting operation was closed down, Fina and others on his team were not asked to stay on. In fact, within hours of Kane’s inaugural swearing-in, Fina’s hard-drive was removed from his computer and seized.
Sources with knowledge of Fina’s investigation told The Philadelphia Inquirer that Tyron B. Ali gave $2,000 to one lawmaker, pressing her to vote against a bill that would require voters to show identification at the polls. When the bill came up for a vote, she and every other Democrat in the State House voted against it.
On March 14, 2014, in an attempt to justify dropping the investigation, Kathleen Kane gave a statement to the Inquirer claiming the investigation was poorly conceived, badly managed, and tainted by racism in that it had targeted African-Americans.
But Inquirer sources seemed to indicate that entrapment was not an issue, saying Ali did not have to ferret out the corrupt politicians – they approached him. Kane offers no substantiated proof of prosecutorial racism beyond her verbal accusation that prosecutors in the case had ordered investigators to target “only members of the General Assembly’s Black Caucus” and to ignore “potentially illegal acts by white members of the General Assembly.”
Specifically, the case centered around the voter-identification bill that had come before the Pennsylvania State House – all harkening back to Obama’s 2008 presidential election victory and the controversial voter intimidation by the New Black Panthers of Philadelphia which was dismissed by Eric Holder’s Department of Justice. Read more here.
Prosecutors now have to decide whether or not to charge her. Remarkably, an arrest would not affect Kane’s status as attorney general. Under the state constitution, elected officials who are charged with a crime may remain in office until they are both convicted and sentenced.