The Brief: “They Already Called the Election, But It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over.”

Photos by Jeff Fusco

Photos by Jeff Fusco

1. The mayoral candidates spent the final weekend of the campaign insisting the race isn’t over yet.

The gist: The reverberations of last week’s Jim-Kenney-could-beat-FDR poll were still strong on the final weekend of the campaign, with Kenney, Anthony Williams and Lynne Abraham all insisting during traditional last-minute stops at city churches on Sunday that the mayoral race won’t be over until 8 p.m. Tuesday night. At a stop of Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church in Nicetown, Williams was joined by U.S. Rep Chaka Fattah, who “decried the poll,” according to the Inquirer. Other speakers did as well: Read more »

The Rise and Fall of Kathleen Kane

Kathleen Kane and Frank Fina.  (Kane: Matt Rourke/Associated Press; Fina: Jason Minick/Associated Press)

Pennsylvania attorney general Kathleen Kane, left, and former state prosecutor Frank Fina. (Kane: Matt Rourke/Associated Press; Fina: Jason Minick/Associated Press)

Ruth Lenahan remembers the feeling she had when she sat down with her friend Kathleen Kane in a political operative’s office in downtown Scranton back in 2011. Kane had been a prosecutor for Lackawanna County for a dozen years, but left in ’07 to raise her two young sons. Now she was restless, and thinking of running for some office. The year before, in 2010, she’d promised to take on a corrupt state senator, Bob Mellow, but was pressured not to by her husband’s family, which owns a large trucking company — taking on Mellow meant risking the loss of a huge state liquor-hauling contract. So she backed out. But now there was a new office to run for, one that seemed to fit her: state attorney general, which, after governor, is the most important elected position in Pennsylvania. And Ruth Lenahan’s feeling about her friend was profound: She was awestruck. Read more »

Lawyers in AG’s Office May Unionize

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane looks on before newly elected members of the Pennsylvania Legislature are sworn in, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. Republicans who control both the Senate and House picked up additional seats in the November election. In the House, Republicans outnumber Democrats 119 to 84 and in the Senate, 30 to 20. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane looks on before newly elected members of the Pennsylvania Legislature are sworn in, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Here’s another headache for Attorney General Kathleen Kane: The lawyers in her office may unionize.

“The office’s 189 attorneys – minus executive-level staff – have been invited to a May 27 meeting with representatives of the American Federation of Teachers Pennsylvania union in Harrisburg to discuss general ‘workplace rights’ issues,” PennLive reports. “A flyer announcing the meeting and obtained by PennLive promises ‘a frank discussion’ about the following topics: voice at work; job security; and protection against arbitrary treatment at work.” Read more »

The Incredibly Simple Way to Fix the Attorney General’s Office

Attorney General Kathleen Kane arrives at a news conference Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, in Philadelphia.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane arrives at a news conference Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, in Philadelphia.

Quick poll: Who here thinks we can solve the problems that ail the state Attorney General’s office by making Pennsylvania’s political culture more like Philly’s?

Anyone? Anyone?

The question is asked because that’s precisely what G. Terry Madonna and Michael Young recommend in an op-ed making the rounds of state newspapers this week. Not in so many words, but the effect is the same: They suggest that Kathleen Kane’s troubles in office are a problem of politics — and the solution is to create a “resign to run” requirement for that office, forcing the incumbent to quit if he or she chooses to run for another post.

Which is exactly the same requirement that members of City Council face when they want to run for mayor — or any other elected office — aside from the one they hold. Now, it’s been about a decade since Councilman Rick Mariano left office in disgrace, and a little longer yet since an FBI bug was found in John Street’s office, but does anybody really want to claim that the city’s political culture has been exemplary since then? Or that “resign to run” is the reason we haven’t seen any criminal prosecutions at City Hall lately?

Anyone? Read more »

Here’s the Just-Unsealed Grand Jury Report on Kathleen Kane

AP-KATHLEEN-KANE-940X540

A Montgomery County judge today released a grand jury report that recommends Attorney General Kathleen Kane face charges in the leaking of documents from an earlier grand jury investigation.

“We find that the testimony of Attorney General Kane was not an honest account of the events, and she mischaracterized events to cover-up activities undertaken at her direction to unlawfully release documents subject to grand jury secrecy,” the grand jury said in its presentment, dated December 19, 2014. (See the full document below.)

The grand jury recommended she face charges of perjury, false swearing, abuse of office, obstruction of the law, and contempt of court. Read more »

Kane Back in Court Today

Kathleen Kane

Pa. Attorney General Kathleen Kane is going back to court this today — this time to challenge a judge’s inquiry into her firing of a key staffer.

CBS Philly reports:

Judge William Carpenter is overseeing a grand jury investigation into allegations that Kathleen Kane’s office leaked secret information. He thinks she may have fired her deputy, James Barker, because of his testimony in the case.

That might violate a protective order that covers grand jury witnesses. Carpenter assembled the three-judge panel to hear whether she could be charged with “indirect contempt of court,” but Kane’s lawyers filed motions challenging the proceeding.

AP adds:

They want Carpenter to recuse himself, saying he’s biased against Kane, and they say his order barring retaliation expired before Barker was fired. In any case, Kane says Barker’s firing wasn’t retaliation.

The hearing is expected to get under way this morning.

Former Ed Rendell Aide Joins Kathleen Kane’s Office

Attorney General Kathleen Kane walks from the State Supreme Court room, Wednesday, March 11, 2015, at City Hall in Philadelphia.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane walks from the State Supreme Court room, Wednesday, March 11, 2015, at City Hall in Philadelphia.

Kathleen Kane’s tenure the attorney general has become — let’s not kid ourselves — so disastrous that the arrival of Chuck Ardo as her new spokesman feels a bit like the appearance of Winston Wolf in Pulp Fiction: Hey! The grownups are in charge again!

But, you know, it might come back to bite her, too. Read more »

Former Agent Sues Kane

Attorney General Kathleen Kane walks from the State Supreme Court room, Wednesday, March 11, 2015, at City Hall in Philadelphia.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane walks from the State Supreme Court room, Wednesday, March 11, 2015, at City Hall in Philadelphia.

A former state undercover agent is suing Attorney General Kathleen Kane, saying she distorted his role in the infamous sting operation that caught Philadelphia Democrats accepting money and gifts from a confidential informant, the Inquirer reports.

Claude Thomas pretended to be the driver for Tyron Ali, the informant, and chauffeured Ali to meetings in a confiscated BMW. He takes offense at the reasons Kane offered for canceling the sting operation. Read more »

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