Kane Lawyer: Inky Reporters Are “Wrong Target”

Kathleen Kane’s lawyer on Tuesday said that two reporters from the Inquirer should not be subpoenaed by investigators trying to determine who leaked information from grand jury proceedings suggesting that charges had been recommended against her.

The Inquirer revealed the existence of the subpoena on Monday. Tuesday, Lanny Davis said the leak should be investigated — but not by targeting journalists.
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Daryl Metcalfe Calls Kathleen Kane a Woman!

Kathleen Kane

When I was 8, I had a habit of chewing gum at school, even though it wasn’t allowed. My preferred brand was Bubble-Yum, which was rumored to be filled with spider eggs, but was the most plush, pillowy, bubble-friendly gum imaginable. I may have been picked last for every team, but I could blow better bigger bubbles than anyone I knew. It was the closest I got to athletic success.

I was sent to the principal’s office a number of times for my gum-chewing. This was in 1976 at a school founded by a progressive, idealistic group of parents who would absolutely have considered themselves in tune with the most liberal social movements, feminism among them. Yet the principal told me that the reason my affront was so grave was that chewing gum was “unladylike.” She said, “Don’t you want to be a lady, Elizabeth?”

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Inky Reporters Subpoenaed by Grand Jury

Looks like we’re about to see how deep the rabbit hole goes.

We noted last week that when the Inquirer reported that a grand jury had recommended charges against Attorney General Kathleen Kane for leaking information from an earlier grand jury case, the paper itself relied on information leaked from a grand jury. Kane’s attorney, Lanny Davis, made the same point.

So it’s probably inevitable that Inky reporters Craig R. McCoy and Angela Couloumbis have now been subpoenaed to appear before a statewide grand jury investigating who leaked that story to them.

The Inquirer, however, says it will protect its sources.
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Kathleen Kane Has Been Awful. But She’s Being Treated Unfairly.

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. 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)

Let’s face it: Kathleen Kane is a lousy attorney general. Her law-enforcement agenda seems to be driven mostly by politics and score-settling. The department she oversees appears to be in constant chaos, with a level of turnover that would probably get most CEOs sacked. And her attempts at damage control have hit the wrong note almost every single time. Which means she’s bad at the substance of her job, bad at the management part of her job, and bad at the political part of her job.

However, it also appears she’s being unfairly railroaded out of office.

Can both things be true? Sure. Consider this:

• If the Inquirer’s reporting is correct — we still don’t have any official confirmation, but there’s no reason to believe they’re wrong — a grand jury has recommended that Kane face charges for leaking grand jury information regarding a 2009 investigation into the finances of then-NAACP Philadelphia President Jerry Mondesire.

• It’s true that grand jury proceedings are supposed to be secret and that leaking information from them is illegal. On one level, this means that Kane — who has admitted to leaking the information to the Philadelphia Daily News for a story last June — doesn’t deserve the defense we’re giving her.  Illegal’s illegal, right? Why shouldn’t we move on?

• The problem is this: If Kane is charged and convicted in the case, then there are many, many officials in Harrisburg and Philadelphia who are getting away — metaphorically — with murder. Why? How often do you read in the papers about how grand juries are proceeding? Which witnesses they’ve heard from, what case is being made by prosecutors? Leaked grand jury information is a staple of news coverage, and while the law may frown on it, most of the time the law doesn’t do a damned thing about it. Leaking, in fact, seems to be the only thing juries do more often than indict ham sandwiches.

• Just to sharpen the last point a little further: The reason we believe that a grand jury has recommended charges against Kane is because somebody — or multiple persons — leaked the information to the Inquirer!

I don’t blame the Inquirer for reporting the information: That’s just good journalism. But that’s an astonishing display of nerve and hypocrisy for everybody else involved — as well as a sign that nobody else expects to get punished for the same behavior that may have Kane facing charges.

Why is Kane getting singled out for this treatment then? Is it because she’s not a member of the old boys club? It’s impossible to say at this point, but when asking the question, it’s well worth remembering one of the really good things that Kane has done with her tenure — which is to expose that gross and misogynistic boys club, operating at the highest levels of our state government. (Typical of Kane: She also overplayed her hand.)

More likely, I think, is this: Kane’s a bit of a hick.

I don’t mean to say she’s not a smart, accomplished woman. She did, however, ascend, to the highest job in state law enforcement without having served any time within the bureaucracy’s walls. Remember: She was a Philly attorney for awhile, then an assistant county prosecutor in Scranton until 2007. She came to office in Harrisburg with little experience or firsthand observations working the machinery of state government. But she’s picked fights with a few people who do have that experience — and that disparity, perhaps, has brought us to the cusp of her prosecution.

(She might also serve as a warning to incoming Gov. Tom Wolf. Kane gained office thanks largely to two factors: A deep distaste among voters for her predecessor, Tom Corbett, and a family fortune — her husband’s — that was essential in knocking out her early opponents. Sound familiar?)

It is difficult to rush to Kane’s defense when her performance has been so bad. But even Kane deserves to be treated fairly. Instead, it really looks like she’s being railroaded.

Follow @JoelMMathis on Twitter.


Kane’s Future Up for Debate

AP Photo | Bradley C. Bower

AP Photo | Bradley C. Bower

It’s true that there’s been no official confirmation of the Philadelphia Inquirer’s report that a grand jury has recommended charges against Attorney General Kathleen Kane, but the political process is not so patient: Lawmakers in Harrisburg are already lining up in the debate about her future.

PennLive reports:

Reps Steve Bloom, R-North Middleton Twp., and Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler, say with all her baggage, she can no longer effectively do her job as the chief law enforcement officer.

“I don’t think she should continue for the benefit of the people of this commonwealth,” Bloom said.

“I think just the grand jury recommendation that criminal charges be filed really destroys this attorney general’s credibility in the state and in the nation,” said Metcalfe, who accepted Thursday’s news report about Kane as fact.

Metcalfe, of course, has long sought Kane’s impeachment, originally for her refusal to defend the state’s ban on gay marriage.
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Metcalfe Again Attempting to Impeach Kane

Pennsylvania Rep. Daryl Metcalfe — of Butler County in Western Pennsylvania — is again looking for cosponsors on a resolution to impeach Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

In a memorandum circulated to all House members this morning, Metcalfe told his colleagues he was going to introduce the resolution again next session.

“I believed then, as I believe today, that she has displayed a blatant disregard and disrespect for the law,” he wrote. “One of the primary differences between a year ago and today is that there are even more alarming incidents and allegations that call her ability to perform the duties of her office into question.”

Here is more of Metcalfe’s memo:

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