Report: Court Could Remove Kane From Office
Attorney General Kathleen Kane has vowed to stay in her job even if — as is expected — she is indicted on charges she leaked secret grand jury information. But a new report suggests that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court could choose to remove her from office if charges are filed.
TribLive’s Brad Bumsted reports: “A little-known emergency valve in rules governing attorney conduct would allow the state Supreme Court, upon request, to suspend the license of a lawyer suspected of ‘egregious conduct.’ That could remove Kane from office because the state constitution says the attorney general must be an attorney, said Ernie Preate, former attorney general from Kane’s hometown of Scranton.”
Preate has reason to be familiar with the mechanics of removing an attorney general: He resigned from the office in 1995 after pleading to mail fraud involving a $20,000 campaign contribution. He served a year in federal prison as a result.
Such a move by the court, however, would be unprecedented. “Some experts question the likelihood of removing an independently elected state official, saying that would raise constitutional issues,” Bumsted reports.
Montgomery County D.A. Risa Vetri Ferman has been reviewing a grand jury’s recommendation to charge Kane in the matter. Observers have expected her decision by the end of the summer.
Chuck Ardo, Kane’s spokesman, said: “If and when the time comes, Attorney General Kane will review her options and take whatever action she deems appropriate.”