Another spokesman for Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane calls it quits
HARRISBURG — Chuck Ardo lasted for more than a year as press secretary for Attorney General Kathleen Kane, but it became “increasingly difficult for me to do my job in good conscience,” he said Friday.
He resigned Thursday with little fanfare and told reporters about it the next day. Ardo, former press secretary for Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell, became the seventh spokesperson to step down or be fired since Kane took office in 2013.
Ardo said he could “no longer explain the inexplicable” for the embattled attorney general, who faces criminal charges. An impeachment investigation is under way in the House, though it appears to be in low gear.
Ardo told the Tribune-Review he never thought he’d last as long as he did.
As Kane runs the office without a law license and faces trial in August on obstruction of justice and perjury charges, Ardo said the stress of working for her began to take its toll.
Ardo said speaking for Kane, on issues ranging from her legal problems, wrongful termination lawsuits and a top aide convicted of spying on employees yet remaining on the payroll, hit a tipping point recently when he gave a tour of the attorney general’s office to a PennLive.com reporter.
“Someone (in the office) dimed me out for trying to be transparent,” he said.
Kane wasn’t in Harrisburg “but she called and read me the riot act,” he said.
Increasingly he said he felt loyal to Bruce Beemer, the first deputy, and other top deputies, and other office professionals, who faced constant roadblocks from Kane in Ardo’s view.
Another irritant for Ardo was her creation of a position, solicitor general, which is not spelled out in the law that established the office of an independent elected attorney general in 1980. Kane filled the post by appointing Bruce Castor, the former Montgomery County district attorney. It was a slap at Beemer, whom Kane has frozen out of key decisions.
Kane faces trial in Montgomery County linked to a grand jury leak that prosecutors say she lied about and covered up.
Patrick Reese, Kane’s driver and bodyguard, was convicted in December of indirect contempt of court for snooping on employees in the office computer system. Prosecutors say he provided secret grand jury information to Kane. He was sentenced to three to six months in prison but is free on bond. An office policy calls for suspension when an employee is charged with a crime.
Ardo’s $10,000-per-month contract doesn’t expire until December. He said he would sort that out Tuesday after the holiday weekend.
Brad Bumsted is the Tribune-Review’s state Capitol reporter. Reach him at 717-787-1405 and [email protected].