We tuned in to the saga of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane (a Democrat) in three posts last year: “Culture of corruption,” followed by “Culture of corruption update” and “Philadelphia four run for reelection.”
Kane appeared to me to be guilty of questionable professional conduct that she defended through the deployment of race and sex cards. Having killed an investigation of black Philadelphia officeholders when she assumed office, she accused those who ran the investigation of racism and then characterized the criticism of her as “nothing more than the Good Ol’ Boys club playing political games to discredit me in order to fulfill their own selfish and improper agenda.”
She followed up with threatening noises about a possible defamation action against the Philadelphia Inquirer, which broke the story regarding the spiked investigation, even though she had yet to identify a false statement of fact made by the paper. Kane’s reaction all by itself persuaded me that the story rightly focused on her.
The New York Times now reports that a Pennsylvania grand jury has recommended that Kane be charged with with perjury, false swearing, official oppression and obstruction in connection with her office’s disclosure of details about the secret investigation of a Philadelphia civil rights leader.
Times reporter Jennifer Steinhauer has followed up with a story that regurgitates Kane’s cant with a skeptical twist: “Ms. Kane, who during a telephone interview quoted Mother Teresa, Winston Churchill and Bruce Springsteen, is short on supporters these days and the new Democratic governor, Tom Wolf, has been carefully neutral.”
Steinhauer brings in Ed Rendell to speak up for Kane:
Former Gov. Edward G. Rendell said that the grand jury recommendation was itself leaked, underscoring what he believes to be the absurdity of the case against Ms. Kane.
“To think we may be indicting the attorney general of this state for a grand jury leak that became public knowledge because The Philadelphia Inquirer got a leak of a sealed presentment is just a joke,” added Mr. Rendell, a former Philadelphia district attorney, who said Ms. Kane’s good work had been overshadowed. “Would it probably have been better if she’d had some administrative experience before this job? Yes. But so could have President Obama.”
“So could have President Obama.” Is that a defense?
Kane told Steinhauer that “she would not resign, and that the truth about the campaign against her would soon be revealed, though she declined to discuss specifics, citing legal concerns.”
Steinhauer quotes Kane: “The people I care about the most, the people of Pennsylvania, support me. Everywhere I go, even in the restroom on the turnpike, people recognize me, and every person says the same thing: ‘We see this for what it is worth. It’s sickening. Hang in there.’”
Why are “they” out to get her? Steinhauer leads the story with the question:
The question before Pennsylvanians is this: Is Kathleen G. Kane, the first woman to be elected as the state’s attorney general, the victim of angry men who targeted her after she exposed their pornography habits?
Or are Ms. Kane’s problems — she stands accused by a grand jury of a bevy of crimes — the self-imposed travails of a political comet who rose from obscurity to eminence, only to be undone by her own temperament and inexperience?
Kane is represented by scandal management guru Lanny Davis. Davis “noted that there is no charge of illegally leaking grand jury information, which he said cast doubts on the strength of the case against her.” I note that that is a pretty pallid defense.