Pa. Senate Moves Closer to Kane Removal; Kane Vows Porngate Crusade
A bipartisan committee has ruled the Pennsylvania Senate does have the power to remove Attorney General Kathleen Kane from office, and urged that body to move forward with a hearing investigating the possibility. The committee, which voted 5-2 on the ruling posted on the Senate website earlier today, did not recommend if Kane should be removed from office.
Kane, a Democrat, had her law license suspended in September after she was indicted on perjury and conspiracy charges this summer. Gov. Tom Wolf supported the Senate panel inquiry, and has said in the past he wants Kane to step down from office.
Kane has said she will not resign from office, and that the suspension of her law license does not impede her ability to do her job. Law professors told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette they wondered if Kane could effectively do her job without a license.
The committee invoked Article VI, Section 7 of the Pennsylvania Constitution in ruling the Senate has the power to remove Kane. It is scheduled to give the senate a full outline of the removal process in 15 days. The Morning Call reports the particular constitutional provision hasn’t been invoked since 1891.
Kane would be able to defend herself at a senate hearing on her removal. Two Democrats — Art Haywood of Philadelphia and Judy Schwank of Berks County — voted against going forward with a removal hearing. Schwank told WFMZ she wants Kane to step down, but doesn’t believe the senate has the legal authority to remove her.
Kane released a long statement about the ruling, saying the ruling is unconstitutional and saying she will continue to investigate pornographic emails sent on state accounts with a team of special prosecutors:
Today, a handful of senators sought to substitute their judgment for that of more than 3 million Pennsylvanians who cast their vote for the duly elected, independent Attorney General. I believe this attempt to remove the Attorney General from office is unconstitutional and intend to vigorously defend the Office of Attorney General against any and all future efforts by this committee or the Senate as a whole.
Over the past few weeks, there has been a chorus rising up across this Commonwealth to condemn the content of emails sent and received by a justice of our Supreme Court, as well as those sent and received by former deputies in the Office of Attorney General of Tom Corbett and Linda Kelly. This chorus condemns more than the racist, misogynistic, homophobic and religiously offensive content of these emails; it condemns the network of judges and lawyers circulating these emails on public computers across state-owned servers.
I have heard this chorus loud and clear. Next Tuesday, I will announce my selection of a team of special prosecutors to go through every public email account trafficking this filth and track down every public server over which it was circulated. At that time, I will outline the prosecutorial powers that these special prosecutors will have to identify any violations of the criminal, civil and ethics laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In addition, I will call upon the Department of Justice to investigate emails circulated on the public email accounts of assistant U.S. attorneys in this state.
There can be no greater duty of an Attorney General than to restore the confidence of the public in the integrity and fairness of their judicial system. I intend to carry out this duty no matter how hard some in the Pennsylvania Senate seek to prevent me from doing so.
Read the full report below.