House Judiciary Committee Votes to Launch Impeachment Investigation Against Kane

Kane has said that impeachment is the only way she could be removed from her post. The House will now determine whether or not her conduct in office warrants it.

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.

Kane, whose law license was suspended when the criminal charges were filed against her, is also facing action in the Senate, which is exploring the possibility of removing her from office via a process known as “direct address.” The Senate’s attempt to unseat her revolves exclusively around the question of whether the suspension of her law license leaves her unable to perform the duties of her office. Kane maintains that this method of removing an elected officeholder is unconstitutional and that impeachment is the only legal avenue for her removal.

“I’m not taking this lightly at all,” the committee chair, Rep. Ron Marsico (R-Dauphin), said of the vote to launch the investigation. “I was hoping it wouldn’t come to this.”

The chair drew parallels with the 1993 case of state Supreme Court Justice Rolf Larsen, in which the committee launched an investigation into his conduct in office to determine whether he should be impeached. That investigation resulted in Larsen’s impeachment by the House and his conviction and removal from office by the Senate while he appealed his conviction in the criminal case against him.

“With regard to Attorney General Kane, I believe the Judiciary Committee should initiate a similar investigation in order to determine if the House should proceed with articles of impeachment,” said Marsico.

The unanimous vote now sends the resolution to the full House, which must also pass it before the investigation can begin. “I know we have support from both the House Republican leadership and the Democratic leadership to move this,” Marsico said.

The earliest the full House can vote on the resolution is February 8th. If the resolution passes, as appears likely, the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts would conduct the investigation and then report to the full committee on whether articles of impeachment are warranted.

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