Several months ago, when the first few specks of shit involving Kathleen Kane started hitting the fan, I wrote a column saying she should not be forced to resign from office.
I didn’t support her tactics and methods as Pennsylvania Attorney General and I firmly believed then, as I do now, that she was probably one of the worst public officials to ever take an oath of office. At the time, she was the focus of a grand-jury investigation, and even if indicted I didn’t believe she should be forced to resign. But as I pointed out in that column, there’s a way to deal with horrible politicians in this country: We don’t re-elect them. Besides, at that point I wasn’t sure that the legal campaign targeting her wasn’t politically motivated. The whole situation needed time to play out.
I am a firm believer in the right of the people to select their elected officials. And back then, I didn’t see any reason to usurp the people’s authority. Since then, however, Kane has lost her law license and still faces criminal charges for perjury and obstruction of justice. And at a time when some people would take a step back and assess the situation, she has cranked up the crazy and has decided to fight just about anyone in Harrisburg who she thinks is attempting to screw her over.
So, in case you haven’t guessed yet, I have changed my tune. It is time for Kathleen Kane to leave office and handle her legal issues. Maybe I was an idiot, or at least naïve, for thinking that this could all play out in a dignified manner, with the truth finally prevailing. But now I’m not sure what the truth is, if we’ll ever get to it or, if it does come out, if we’ll even recognize it.
To be perfectly honest, I can barely keep straight the who, what, where, why and how this whole convoluted, ill-conceived game of political football started. All I know is that it has devolved into a high-stakes game of chicken that can end only one way: mutually assured destruction.
MAD is a war strategy that basically involves the two opposing sides using weapons of mass destruction against one another. Nobody wins. Everybody loses. And in this game the weapons are emails sent by various ranks of state employees and public officials. By now, we all know about the porn emails. They cost several high-ranking members of the Tom Corbett administration their posts, and a state Supreme Court justice was forced to resign for sharing the emails. Another, Justice Michael Eakin, is back under investigation for sending emails that were not only pornographic but also contained racist, sexist and homophobic comments and images. State Democrats have begun calling for the Republican justice’s resignation. I think the odds are pretty good that at some point they’re going to get it.
Kathleen Kane is on borrowed time and, as other pundits have also pointed out, she has decided not to go down alone. She is firing her missiles at every available target, hoping to take as many of them with her as possible. Recently she released email communication from 2013 between Judge Barry Feudale and two Philadelphia reporters.
Feudale was ticked because Kane had him removed as judge of the statewide grand jury. He was discussing with the reporters whether he could leak to them information surrounding that removal, particularly the order stating the reasons he was taken off grand-jury duties. Kane says she got the emails because they were on the attorney general’s server and therefore public. The problem? Feudale sent them from a personal email address, on a personal computer. He says his office was burglarized, and guess whom he blames?
With these revelations come more unintended consequences. Attorneys for convicted child-molester and former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky want the charges against him thrown out because of Kane’s allegations that there were grand-jury leaks surrounding the case. The judge overseeing the appeal has ordered Kane to appear on Nov. 5.
Last week. Steve Esack, the excellent state-government reporter from the Allentown Morning Call, ran a story about members of Kane’s staff asking Northhampton District Attorney John Morganelli to enact a rarely used court procedure to get her out of office. In response to the request, Morganelli said, “I never imagined it could get so bad.”
Neither did I. Kane is running around indiscriminately firing bullets at her enemies like a drunken assassin. I can only imagine how much worse it’s going to get from here.