GOP delays impeachment vote of Kane
HARRISBURG — Republican House leaders don't intend to move forward soon with an impeachment vote on Attorney General Kathleen Kane, a topic aired at a committee hearing that one GOP lawmaker said resembled “an echo chamber.”
The hearing before the House State Government Committee on a resolution by Chairman Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry, to impeach Kane presented only testimony against her on Tuesday. Rep. George Dunbar, R-Westmoreland County, said he wants to hear “both sides” — and from Kane herself, whom Metcalfe didn't invite to testify.
“In all honesty, I considered it as an echo chamber. It's unfortunate,” Dunbar said.
He said he wished Democratic members didn't walk out of the meeting, because that prevented a full discussion.
Rep. Mike Vereb, R-Montgomery County, who is a House GOP leader, predicted “no scenario in which the House takes up any action until all the investigations are completed.”
They include a House ethics committee investigation of four Philadelphia Democratic members whom Kane declined to prosecute and a potential criminal investigation of those lawmakers by Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams.
Kane, the first woman and Democrat to be elected attorney general, gave Williams the case, saying she considered it legally flawed.
Vereb didn't say a House vote would happen, only that no decision would be made until other cases are resolved.
Stephen Miskin, a spokesman for House Republican leaders, said they are occupied with the budget, pension reform and liquor-privatization proposals.
Kane went on the defensive after news stories disclosed that she shut down a legislative sting begun by her predecessors, in which an undercover informant videotaped lawmakers and an former traffic-court judge taking money and jewelry.
The impeachment hearing, though, may help Kane deflect criticism by portraying Metcalfe's effort as partisan, analysts said.
“Right now the discussion is about her execution of the job of attorney general,” said J. Wesley Leckrone, a political science professor at Widener University. “Impeachment proceedings would allow Kane to reframe the argument in terms of partisan character assassination. Rep. Metcalfe would be especially useful in her attempt to portray herself as a victim of the Republican ‘good-ol'-boys club,' given his social conservatism.”
A response on Tuesday by Kane's campaign, not her office, referred to Metcalfe as a Tea Party Republican attempting to “curry favor with the most extreme elements of his party.”
Metcalfe said he pursued it because Kane ignored her duty as attorney general by closing the sting case and by refusing to defend the state's ban on gay marriage in a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Metcalfe said he plans no immediate committee vote. It's a long-term project that involves talking to as many members as possible, he said.
“I'll be actively working on holding this attorney general accountable,” he said.
Wes Oliver, a Duquesne University Law School professor, said because Metcalfe considers Kane's refusal to defend the gay marriage ban to be an article of impeachment “suggests it is an entirely politically motivated effort.”
“It makes her opposition seem completely unreasonable,” said Oliver, who contends she also had solid legal reasons for declining to prosecute the sting case.
Brad Bumsted is Trib Total Media's state Capitol reporter. Reach him at 717-787-1405 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Veterans courts in Pennsylvania dubbed remedy for recidivism
- Settlements in Sandusky scandal up to nearly $93 million for Penn State
- Chief justice revokes Feudale’s senior judge status
- Pennsylvania Senate defeats tax overhaul plan
- Western Pa. dairies get creative to ensure eggnog supply
- White House Christmas tree sent from Pennsylvania