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Kane creates solicitor general post in Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General

| Tuesday, March 29, 2016, 3:27 p.m.
Bruce Castor, a Republican, is the first deputy attorney general under Democrat Kathleen Kane.
Bruce Castor, a Republican, is the first deputy attorney general under Democrat Kathleen Kane.

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane on Tuesday created the new position of solicitor general in her office and named former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor to the post.

Castor's salary is $150,000 a year. It will be pro-rated for the remainder of the year, her spokesman said.

Kane has two other aides with salaries in that range, First Deputy Bruce Beemer is paid $146,661, and Chief of Staff Jonathan Duecker makes $140,421.

“She is still spending less in the executive suite than previous attorneys general have,” spokesman Chuck Ardo said.

Castor could not be reached.

“(Beemer) will be subordinate to the solicitor general and report directly to the solicitor general,” Kane's office said in a statement. Beemer has been at odds with Kane.

He is under a protective order for having testified against her during grand jury proceedings. Kane faces criminal charges in Montgomery County.

Based on state law, Beemer would still be the first in line of succession should Kane leave office.

“Bruce Castor is an excellent attorney. I wish him well,” said Walter Cohen, former acting attorney general.

Hiring Castor and creating the post is “probably” related to Kane's law license being suspended by the Supreme Court last fall, Cohen said.

Ardo said the move has nothing to do with the status of her law license. “It's about improving efficiency of the office,” he said.

“All of this seems related to Kane wanting a qualified attorney at the highest level,” Cohen said.

Because it is a temporary position, Castor will be able to retain a private law practice.

Other states have solicitors general, Kane's office said.

Castor most recently was a Montgomery County commissioner. He was the district attorney there from 2000-08. He was first assistant there from 1993-2000.

Brad Bumsted is the Tribune-Review's state Capitol reporter. Reach him at 717-787-1405 or bbumsted@tribweb.com.

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