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Office defends promotion, raise for Pennsylvania AG Kane's twin

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Friday, Aug. 23, 2013, 3:51 p.m.
 

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Kathleen Kane's identical twin received a 19.6 percent raise in April to head the office's Child Protection Unit as a chief deputy attorney general.

Ellen Granahan was an experienced prosecutor whose pay rose from $69,771 to $83,423 when Kane's top deputy Adrian King promoted her, the office said on Friday.

“It shows very bad judgment. (Kane) probably knew it was occurring, and she probably let it occur,” said Allegheny County Republican Committee Chairman Jim Roddey.

Gov. Tom Corbett hired Granahan in 2008 when he was attorney general. Kane has butted heads on several issues with Corbett, a Shaler Republican.

Granahan remained on staff under Kane's predecessor, Attorney General Linda Kelly, whom Corbett hand-picked.

State ethics law prevents officials from using their offices to enable financial gain for relatives.

Kane's spokesman Joe Peters denied that the promotion crossed any legal lines.

“This was not a case of giving her sister a job,” he said.

Moreover, Peters said, King excluded Kane from the process.

“Pennsylvanians deserve clear answers on the attorney general's ethics because she has been entrusted in a law enforcement position and her actions have created serious questions,” said Valerie Caras, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Republican Party.

The Patriot-News of Harrisburg first reported the promotion Thursday on its Pennlive website.

Peters said the office put in place procedures to guard against conflicts shortly after Kane, a Democrat, took office in January.

“Ellen was one of a number of people and issues identified in late January by the senior staff, which established ethical screens to avoid conflicts of interest,” he said.

Given her experience as a child abuse prosecutor in the Lackawanna District Attorney's Office, “it would have been a crime not to look at Ellen Granahan for this position,” Peters said.

He could not say how many deputies King considered for the post.

Granahan is the second-lowest-paid among 21 chief deputies in the office, Peters said.

Arrests by the Child Predator Unit she heads have tripled this year, compared with all of last year, he said.

Kane clashed with Corbett on his handling of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse investigation. She has a special deputy investigating whether Corbett slowed the case to avoid controversy before his November 2010 election. Sandusky, a former Penn State University assistant football coach, is serving a life sentence for molesting boys.

Kane shot down Corbett's plan to privatize the state lottery; her OK was necessary on “form and legality.”

In July, Kane announced she would not defend the state in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a law effectively banning gay marriage because she considers it unconstitutional. She turned it over to Corbett's lawyers to handle.

Brad Bumsted is Trib Total Media's state Capitol reporter. Reach him at 717-787-1405 or bbumsted@tribweb.com.

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