Where does Kane's case go from here? |

Where does Kane's case go from here?


Attorney General Kathleen Kane's decision not to run for re-election appears to have given her the chance to serve out her term through at least most of 2016. If convicted of a felony at her August trial, she would have to step down — but not until sentencing, which could take several months. If acquitted, she'll be in office through early January.

There's reason to believe Senate Democrats had an idea she would make the announcement not to run, and they opposed (save for one member) an effort to remove her from office.

The impeachment process continues to get underway in the House, right? Well, House Minority Leader Frank Dermody, D-Oakmont, made it very clear that the sentiment among Democrats is it would be overkill to attempt to impeach Kane, given her subsequent announcement that she would not seek re-election.

Her fate, it seems, now is entirely in the hands of Montgomery County prosecutors who accuse Kane, a Democrat, of lying and covering up a grand jury leak. She faces two felony perjury counts, 10 lesser counts. She strongly maintains her innocence.

Kane's decision not to run “took the wind out of the sails” for many House Democrats, Dermody said.

Republicans still control the chamber. Even if Dermody's right, it does not mean there won't be a vote on articles of impeachment.

Timing is a major issue. The House still could ramp up the hearings and move forward. As Rep. Rick Saccone, R-Elizabeth Township, put it: why would the House not take it up, as a matter of principle, if Kane's misbehavior rises to the level of impeachment?

Costs for an outside law firm are an issue — particularly with the state facing a $2 billion budget deficit — but Rep. Todd Stephens, R-Montgomery County, said he believes legal costs can be shaved by having one law firm represent Republicans and Democrats. In the 1994 impeachment of the late Supreme Court Justice Rolf Larsen, both parties in the House hired their own law firms at a total cost of about $1.5 million, Dermody said.

Republicans should now be happy, right? There always was a notion that the GOP wanted to keep Kane in office and dangle her voluminous troubles out over the next few months as Pennsylvania voters go to the polls to elect 203 House members, half the 50-member Senate and statewide officials, including a new attorney general.


Clearly, many Senate and House Republican legislators sincerely wanted her out. Ironically, it behooves Democrats and Democrat candidates, purely from a political standpoint, to have Kane resign or be removed.

Even if Stephens proceeds to a House vote on Kane's impeachment, the Senate has demonstrated the difficulty in getting a super majority (a two-thirds vote) on the removal effort. The Senate would sit as a jury on any House impeachment articles.

So, it appears Kane will be able to pursue her crusade against emails sent over the years to AG computer servers, including, pornographic attachments, dirty jokes and lewd comments.

Brad Bumsted is Trib Total Media's state Capitol reporter (717-787-1405 or [email protected]).

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.