Contact Information 

District Office
1555 Highlands Drive
Suite 110
Lititz, PA 17543
Phone:  (717) 626-1776
FAX:  (717) 626-4234

Capitol Office
51A East Wing
PO Box 202097
Harrisburg PA 17120-2097
Phone: (717) 787-1776

E-Mail:  
smentzer@pahousegop.com

A Sad Day for Our Commonwealth
8/7/2015
Last Thursday, criminal charges were brought against Pennsylvania’s attorney general, Kathleen Kane. The charges, that Ms. Kane used her office to leak grand jury material in order to damage a political opponent, are quite serious and stem from an investigation by Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman.

Ferman’s office has charged that Kathleen Kane, Pennsylvania’s chief law enforcement officer, allegedly “devised a scheme” to secretly leak confidential information and grand jury materials to damage political opponents, and then “repeatedly lied” before a grand jury to cover it up.

The specific charges leveled against Kane include perjury, obstruction, false swearing and official oppression, and violations of the Grand Jury Act and the Criminal History Records Information Act.

Hours after the charges were announced, Gov. Tom Wolf, speaking at a unrelated press event in East Stroudsburg, said he believes Kane should step down as attorney general. Wolf took no position on Kane’s guilt or innocence, but said he thinks the process of defending herself against these charges would detract from her ability to focus on the duties of the state’s attorney general.

Kane quickly issued a statement saying she has no intention of stepping down and that she remains “committed to leading the Office of Attorney General and doing the job the citizens of this Commonwealth elected me to do. A resignation would be an admission of guilt and I'm not guilty.”

So, where does that leave us?

A measure to begin the process of impeaching Kane has been introduced in the House State Government Committee. As dictated by the Pennsylvania Constitution, that process articles of must originate in the House of Representatives.

The House essentially serves as a Grand Jury, hearing evidence and then voting to approve or reject the petition containing the charges against the accused. A simple majority of the House is required to approve an article(s) of impeachment.

Should the petition be approved by the House, articles of impeachment would be prepared. The Senate would conduct a trial, and convict or acquit the accused. Two-thirds of the senators present must vote for a conviction. Upon a conviction, the accused would be removed from office.

However, because holding the office of Pennsylvania Attorney General requires one to hold a valid license to practice law, Kane could face another challenge. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania could revoke her license to practice law. Should that occur, she would no longer be able to hold that office.

As a potential juror voting on articles of impeachment, I must remain impartial to Kane’s situation until any evidence is presented, as there is such a measure pending in the House.

Should Kane be removed from office, or leave office, Wolf can appoint her replacement to fill the unexpired term of office. That replacement would require a vote of approval by two-thirds of the state Senate in order to take office.

The next election for state attorney general is November 2016. If Kane is not convicted of any wrongdoing and maintains her license to practice law, she would eligible to run for attorney general or any other state office in 2016.

It is very unfortunate that the state and its residents are being subjected to this series of events.

The attorney general takes the same oath of office that the governor and every member of the General Assembly: “I do solemnly swear that I will support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth and that I will discharge the duties of my office with fidelity."

Voters expect, rightly, that when we speak these words that we mean them with all our heart. It is troubling when events occur that overshadow the duties we have sworn to carry out on behalf of the people of this Commonwealth because anything that detracts from our ability to do our jobs affects them as well.

Unfortunately, Kane is the second attorney general in 20 years to face criminal charges. In 1995, Ernie Preate Jr. pleaded guilty to corruption charges and resigned.

None of this is good for our Commonwealth or the Republic of which we are a part.

Representative Steven Mentzer
97th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jonathan Anzur
717.260.6610
janzur@pahousegop.com
RepMentzer.com / Facebook.com/RepMentzer
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