Former Pennsylvania attorney general Kathleen Kane is going to jail

Former Pennsylvania attorney general Kathleen Kane is going to jail

Channel 27 in Harrisburg reported today that former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane (D) has been sentenced to 10 to 23 months in prison for leaking grand jury materials to the media and then lying about it under oath. Kane was also sentenced to eight years of probation. She was convicted on August 15 of two felonies involving perjury, and seven misdemeanors.

Back in 2015, the Competitive Enterprise Institute rated Kane America’s worst state attorney general. As Channel 27 notes, “Prosecutors called Kane’s crimes ‘egregious.’ They say a paranoid Kane ruined morale” in her 800-person office “through a calculated scheme to embarrass rival prosecutors who had left the office.”

Various attorneys general have gone to jail over the years, usually due to greed. In earlier times, Texas’s Dan Morales (D) was jailed for mail fraud and tax evasion related to Texas’ multibillion dollar 1998 tobacco settlement. Alabama’s Richmond Flowers (D) was sentenced to eight years for conspiring to extort payments from companies, while Missouri’s William Webster (R) was sentenced to two years for giving lawyers who donated to his campaign bigger settlements.

Kane, by contrast, was not just corrupt, but mean and vindictive. Yet a predominantly liberal national media has paid little attention to her wrongdoing, perhaps out of ideological affinity for Kane.

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Kane blocked state corruption prosecutions after a sting operation caught multiple Philadelphia politicians — all fellow Democrats — collecting bribes. She thwarted a criminal investigation of a former state official with ties to a tycoon associated with mob figures. She illegally retaliated against a senior lawyer in her office, in defiance of a court order, by firing him after he testified before a grand jury investigating Kane’s leak. She awarded lucrative no-bid contracts to her campaign contributors. And she concealed them from the public in violation of state open-records laws, using taxpayer money to hire lawyers to invent rationalizations for doing so. She not only turned a blind eye to sexual assault by a top aide, but gave him the authority to fire the victims. She also repeatedly refused to defend state laws sponsored by conservative legislators when they were challenged in court.

Perhaps more typical of state attorney general mischief is Jim Hood (D) of Mississippi, who was rated the second-worst state attorney general by the Competitive Enterprise Institute in 2015. Hood had a history of hiring law firms to file lawsuits against businesses, lawsuits that led to big payouts — for the lawyers Hood selected to bring them. In 2012, after Republicans took control of the state legislature and the governor’s mansion, the state passed a law restricting such practices. Moreover, in two lawsuits that predated that law, the conservative state auditor objected to Hood’s allowing lawyers he hired to keep portions of state settlements with Microsoft and MCI, rather than paying such funds into the state treasury. Mississippi’s Supreme Court subsequently ruled against Hood in these cases.

Hans Bader

Hans Bader

Hans Bader practices law in Washington, D.C. After studying economics and history at the University of Virginia and law at Harvard, he practiced civil-rights, international-trade, and constitutional law. He also once worked in the Education Department. Hans writes for and has appeared on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal.” Contact him at [email protected]


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