House unlikely to attempt Kane impeachment
HARRISBURG — The ranking Democrat on the House State Government Committee said the Republican chairman's resolution to impeach Attorney General Kathleen Kane “is based on policy decisions, not wrongdoing.”
The committee plans a non-voting session on Tuesday about impeaching Kane, the first woman and first Democrat elected attorney general. Any subsequent committee vote would need House approval. A House vote to impeach would trigger a trial in the Senate.
Last week, Kane declined to comment on the hearing. Chairman Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry, didn't invite her to testify.
Political experts view the chances of impeachment proceeding as slim in the Republican-controlled Legislature.
“This just doesn't make sense for the long-range future of Pennsylvania. It would be a mistake,” said Rep. Mark Cohen, D-Philadelphia, the minority chairman.
Political tumult in the General Assembly is “not as toxic as (in) Washington,” but attempting to impeach the state attorney general for policy disagreements could lead there, Cohen said.
He didn't rule out an eventual committee vote but predicted the House would not take up an impeachment resolution. It's unprecedented, Cohen said.
Metcalfe proposed impeaching Kane for refusing to defend the constitutionality of the state's ban on same-sex marriage — something he considers her duty — and for declining to prosecute four Philadelphia Democratic lawmakers who were videotaped taking cash.
Kane claims legal underpinnings of the legislative investigation failed to pass muster. She said she can't ethically defend the gay marriage ban because she believes it's unconstitutional.
Metcalfe criticized Kane for giving her twin sister a 19 percent pay raise, but a spokesman said a deputy, not Kane, made that decision. Her sister worked for prior attorneys general and stayed on when Kane took office.
J. Christian Adams, a policy board member of the American Civil Rights Union and founder of the Election Law Center in Virginia, plans to testify about Kane's “corrosive effect on election integrity.”
In prepared remarks provided to the Tribune-Review, Adams, who grew up in Westmoreland County, said Kane's “brazen unwillingness to pursue behavior by some elected officials who reportedly took bribes in exchange for votes against voter identification legislation sends a signal that criminal behavior touching on elections will be tolerated.”
A lobbyist who became an undercover informant for the attorney general's office provided more than $16,000 to legislators to vote against the voter ID bill. The bill became law, but a challenge is pending before appellate courts.
The legislators are Reps. Ron Waters, Louise Bishop, Vanessa Brown and Michelle Brownlee, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Kane called it the “Black Caucus investigation” under her Republican predecessors. She said black lawmakers were unfairly targeted. Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, who is black, said he sees no racism in the case.
Williams last week took Kane up on her offer to let him review the evidence for possible prosecution.
“Kathleen Kane is the most transparent attorney general we've ever had,” Cohen said. “She has discussed this to her detriment.”
Critics have picked apart her reasons for not prosecuting the legislators, Cohen said.
Former Attorney General Tom Corbett, a Republican who now is governor, was “very closed-mouth,” Cohen said.
Brad Bumsted is Trib Total Media's state Capitol reporter. Reach him at 717-787-1405 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kaboly: Steelers fill biggest needs by drafting defensive players
- Bird flu ravaging commercial flocks remains mysterious
- Santucci repeats as Pittsburgh Marathon winner; Njoroge wins men’s race
- Jeannette man killed in Hempfield crash
- Marathon takes over streets of Pittsburgh
- Kennywood Park opening day ends early because of disruptive crowd
- Remains discovered in Beaver County park
- Penn State tight end James, a South Allegheny grad, goes to Steelers in 5th round
- Steelers notebook: Harrison will play fewer snaps this season
- Rossi: Pittsburgh could show NFL a draft party
- In Pittsburgh, racial strife simmers in uneasy calm