5 Takeaways From the Alleged Johnny Doc Brawl

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

The Philadelphia Inquirer broke a bombshell of a story today: John Dougherty, the politically influential labor leader, was in a physical altercation with a nonunion electrician on January 21st at a worksite — but spokesman Frank Keel says Dougherty acted purely in self-defense.

According to Keel, contractor Joshua Keesee threatened Dougherty’s family members, and then Keesee “rushed John and threw a punch” at his head. “John Dougherty ducked the contractor’s punch and countered with a punch to the assailant’s face. That was the end of the incident,” says Keel. “We firmly believe that there should be no criminal or civil charges filed in this matter.” Keesee, though, has another story: He claims that Dougherty took the first hit, and broke his nose in the process.

City police are investigating, according to the Inquirer. District Attorney Seth Williams referred the matter to Attorney General Kathleen Kane, whose office said Tuesday that she “set up a conflict wall regarding the decision to accept or deny the referral and/or initiate charges.” That’s because Dougherty’s electricians union was a donor to her 2013 campaign. There’s a lot to chew on here, lots of potential impacts. Here are five takeaways from the incident: Read more »

Kathleen Kane Won’t Run for Second Term

Kathleen Kane.

Kathleen Kane.

Kathleen Kane, Pennsylvania’s scandal-plagued attorney general, said today she will not run for reelection.

“This was not easy decision,” she said, before announcing. “I am not seeking the Democratic nomination for attorney general.”

She did not take any questions from the media assembled at Scranton for the announcement.

Kane’s law license has been suspended while she awaits trial on criminal charges on allegations she leaked secret grand jury information; she survived an ouster vote by the Pennsylvania Senate last week, but the Pennsylvania House began impeachment efforts. She made no direct mention of the charges, or the broader “Porngate” scandal, instead saying that as a “single mother,” she decided she needed to spend more time with her two teen sons. Read more »

Pa. Senate Vote to Remove Kathleen Kane From Office Fails

AP_kathleen-kane-senate-debate-940x540

Pennsylvania state Sen. John Gordner speaks, during a historic floor debate, in favor of a resolution on whether to remove Attorney General Kathleen Kane from office, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, in Harrisburg, Pa. Some senators had challenged Kane’s ability to do her job after the state Supreme Court suspended her law license while she fights criminal charges. Kane had said the Senate’s removal process is unconstitutional. (AP Photo/Marc Levy)

After several hours of debate, the Senate failed to remove Attorney General Kathleen Kane from office today. The vote, held under an obscure statute of the Pennsylvania constitution last used in 1891, was 29-19 in favor of removal. A two-thirds majority was needed.

The vote was mostly along party lines, though two senators broke ranks. Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, a Republican from the Philadelphia suburbs, voted against removal. Sen. Rob Teplitz, a Democrat, voted in favor of it. “The position is not attorney and/or general,” Teplitz said during the debate. “It is attorney general.”

Debate before the vote was often heated and again broke down among party lines. “We have an attorney general who can’t legally do any of the legal provisions of the Commonwealth Attorneys Act,” Sen. John Gordner said. “The removal of an elected official needs more than just speculation and maybes,” Sen. Sean Wiley said. “I believe her election was a landmark, not an immunity card,” Sen. Lisa Baker said. “My conclusion is that she is impaired beyond redemption.”

Sen. Art Haywood, who represents parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery County, spoke passionately against Kane’s removal. “It is the Supreme Court that provided the temporary suspension, so it is the Supreme Court that would make the decision that the temporary suspension is being violated or not,” he said. “It is not for the Supreme Senate to decide, it is for the courts.” Read more »

Pa. Senate to Vote Wednesday on Kane’s Future

"PennsylvaniaKathleen Kane’s ability to survive scandal will face its biggest test so far on Wednesday.

That’s when the Pennsylvania Senate will vote, deciding whether or not the attorney general — whose law license is suspended while she awaits trial on criminal charges — should be ousted from office. Read more »

Court Denies Reinstatement of Kathleen Kane’s Law License

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane speaks during a news conference Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015, at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane speaks during a news conference Dec. 1, 2015, at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

Kathleen Kane isn’t getting her law license back right now.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied Kane’s attempt to have her law license reinstated when it rejected her appeal today. The court suspended her law license in September after she was charged with obstruction of justice and perjury. Read more »

Poll: Kathleen Kane Leads Democratic Attorney General Race

Harper Polling - PA Democratic Attorney General poll - Kathleen Kane leads

Harper Polling polled Democrats for the state attorney general primary. Kathleen Kane, the current indicted AG who does not have a law license, leads the other candidates right now. (Courtesy Harper Polling)

Kathleen Kane has a lot on her plate now. For example, last month at the Constitution Center she gave a press conference where she displayed a video of pornographic and offensive emails on a 30-foot screen. This was to defend herself in a current scandal that has seen her be indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice, have her law license suspended and have state lawmakers weigh removing her from office.

There is an enormous backstory to this scandal, that has cost many others their jobs and reputations. But Kane may have been hit harder by it than anyone. Yet she’s running for re-election as state attorney general, and Democrats may be ready to call her blameless: In a new poll from Republican firm Harper Polling, Kane is leading the democratic field.

Kane gets 31 percent of Democratic support. Thirty percent of voters are undecided. Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala gets 18 percent, Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro gets 13 percent and Northampton County DA John Morganelli gets 8 percent. (To note, as the firm does in its release, Harper Polling conducts survey research for State Sen. John Rafferty, a GOP candidate for Attorney General.) Read more »

House Judiciary Committee Votes to Launch Impeachment Investigation Against Kane

Kathleen Kane

The state House Judiciary Committee has unanimously approved a resolution that would launch a formal investigation into Attorney General Kathleen Kane‘s conduct in office pursuant to a possible vote to impeach her.

Kane has been the subject of a grand jury investigation into her actions relating to a leak of confidential information about a critic as a possible act of revenge. The grand jury charged her with leaking the information and then lying about it when questioned under oath. She has pleaded not guilty to the charges; her trial is slated to begin later this year. Read more »

CVS to Pay $450,000 to Settle Claims That it Sold Expired Drugs, Infant Formula in PA

(Ken Wolter/Shutterstock.com)

(Ken Wolter/Shutterstock.com)

CVS will pay $450,000 to settle charges that it sold expired over-the-counter drugs, infant formula and dairy products in Pennsylvania stores.

The settlement stems from an investigation by the Health Care Section of Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s office. In 2010, the state and the drug-store giant reached an agreement that called for CVS stores in Pennsylvania to voluntarily institute a system to ensure that expired products were not sold. (How that didn’t already exist is mind-boggling. We’re talking about medicine, milk and infant formula here.) Read more »

Ed Rendell: AG Kathleen Kane Doesn’t Need Law License

Ed Rendell - Senate testimony - PCN

Ed Rendell testifies before the Pennsylvania Special Committee on Senate Address. (Screengrab via PCN)

In his experience, Ed Rendell says Kathleen Kane doesn’t need a law license to be Pennsylvania attorney general.

Rendell — Philadelphia’s district attorney for eight years before later becoming mayor of the city and governor of the state — testified before a state senate committee today in defense of Kane, the embattled AG who had her law license suspended last year. Today’s Pennsylvania Special Committee on Senate Address hearing was on the topic of whether that suspension disqualifies Kane from the office of attorney general. The committee will issue a report in 15 days; the full senate could vote then on a possible dismissal.

Rendell said that, when he was district attorney of Philadelphia, “at least 97 percent” of his job did not require a law license. He gave an example: “If council turned me down, I would go to Mayor Rizzo, and I would say, ‘Mayor, it’s a war out there.’ And he would pound his fists on the desk and I would get whatever I wanted. This did not require me to have a law license.” Read more »

Josh Shapiro Running for Attorney General “To Clean Up a Mess”

In this Sept. 4, 2013 file photo, Josh Shapiro speaks in Harrisburg, Pa. Shapiro will announce his candidacy to be attorney general on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Bradley C Bower, File)

In this Sept. 4, 2013 file photo, Josh Shapiro speaks in Harrisburg, Pa. Shapiro will announce his candidacy to be attorney general on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Bradley C Bower, File)

When he formally announces his candidacy for attorney general on Tuesday, Josh Shapiro will do so in a three-and-a-half-page letter to Pennsylvanians that never once mentions Kathleen Kane — but that clearly defines her time in office as his reason for running.

“The election will come down to this: Who can lead the office with integrity, who has the judgment and executive experience to clean up a mess, and who has a track record of fighting for our collective values,” Shapiro writes to supporters. Read more »

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