Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has been beset by legal troubles: A grand jury has recommended that Kane face perjury, obstruction of justice and other criminal charges for allegedly leaking grand jury material to the Philadelphia Daily News last year, and then lying about it. The grand jury concluded that Kane had used her political consultant to deliver documents about a 2009 grand jury investigation of former Philadelphia NAACP head J. Whyatt Mondesire to a Daily News reporter. Her former deputy Adrian King Jr. testified that “Kane became fixated on the Mondesire case because of news accounts that reported she did not prosecute Philadelphia (Democratic) lawmakers caught taking cash in an undercover sting,” The Associated Press reported. Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams later brought charges in the sting case; Williams, who is African-American, castigated Kane for calling that investigation racist.
Here’s what women in politics should expect:
They should expect equal pay for equal work (in all fields, really), and they should expect equal opportunity.
Here’s what they should not expect:
To be treated differently once they attain political office.
Kathleen Kane is not facing legal troubles because she is a woman.
Criticism of her is not, as she asserted to The Philadelphia Inquirer last year, “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 has made serious missteps since she took the helm of the AG’s office in January 2013.
Even in an instance when her way should have been clear — when a pornographic email scandal that had begun during Tom Corbett’s reign as AG hit her office last fall — she fumbled.
She initially refused to release the emails, then she released them selectively. She went on CNN and implied that some of the emails contained child pornography, a serious and inflammatory claim.
Her spokeswoman then had to walk that claim back.
Last week, the continuing saga that is the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office took yet another turn, when the Inquirer reported that Kane’s recently minted chief of staff, Jonathan Duecker, had been accused of sexual harassment by a deputy attorney general and a second female employee.
Deputy Attorney General Michele Kluk had reported her allegations to her superiors in 2014 — more than a year, the Inquirer pointed out, before Kane promoted Duecker to be her chief of staff.
Kluk told the Inquirer that when she learned Duecker had been promoted, “my stomach turned sick, and I just wanted to leave the office.”
Last week, Kane’s spokesman Chuck Ardo told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that Kane “continues to have confidence” in Duecker.
Kane “thinks this is all part of the effort to undermine her,” Ardo told the Tribune-Review.
Apparently, the chaos in the AG’s office is everyone else’s fault but Kane’s.
Her previous chief of staff resigned after only four months on the job.
She accused Corbett of having slowed the Jerry Sandusky prosecution for political purposes, but an investigation found no evidence to support her charge.
She’s not only been accused of refusing to prosecute Democratic officials in Philadelphia allegedly on the take, but of undermining an investigation of a casino operator.
Her office first said it couldn’t produce the legal bills for staff members who appeared before the grand jury investigating Kane, and then, last week, it did.
Have you had enough, Pennsylvania?
Kane denies any criminal wrongdoing, and like every other citizen, she is entitled to due process.
But Pennsylvania’s top prosecutor should be beyond reproach. And Kane, unfortunately, simply is not.