Kathleen Kane's Troubles: Not Sure if the Old Boy's Network can be Blamed!

The Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is facing undaunted challenges as she proceeds in her first term.  She is the first woman and the first Democrat to be elected to the top enforcement agency in the state.  One of her campaign promises was to find out why it took so long for Jerry Sandusky, the convicted child molester, to be investigated.  Her investigation took a long time and showed no improprieties on Governor Wolf's part.  Her term has been filled with highlight reel issues.  She recently was stripped of her law license by the State Supreme Court.  This was a major blow to her ability to lead the Attorney General's office.

I always love people who become the first at anything.  Neil Armstrong was the first man to land on the moon.  Violet Palmer was the first woman to become an NBA referee.  Sandra Day O'Connor was the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court.  It is a distinction that is well earned and preceded by a tremendous amount of hard work.  Ms. Kane is the pride of Scranton, PA.  She earned her degrees at Scranton and Temple Universities respectively.  She developed her skills as an assistant DA for Lackawanna County, PA.  She also worked in private practice.  Her twin sister, who was paraded before cameras during a recent arraignment, is also an attorney and works for her sister in the AG's office.

The political turmoil began for AG Kane when she declined to prosecute a few African American politicians who had been caught on tape accepting cash from a government informant.  Even though Ron Walters, Michelle Brownlee, Louise Williams Bishop and other officials clearly violated established laws by not reporting cash accepted from Tyron Ali the AG thought that the potential case was tainted by racism and would not be prosecutable.  The first target of her ire was Frank Fina.  She became enraged when he bought this case to the media and questioned her office's lack of pursuit of the perpetrators.  The District Attorney for the City of Philadelphia. Seth Williams, successfully prosecuted a few of these defendants.  Two are still fighting charges of the abuse of the office.

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Ms. Kane is accused of leaking confidential grand jury information in the case of former NAACP head Jerry Mondesire.  Mr. Mondesire recently passed away and I wish his family well as they recover from his loss.  I found it strange that Ms. Kane picked this case to allegedly leak grand jury information.  On one hand, the case involved Frank Fina.  I can see this aspect.  She wanted to make an example of him not proceeding on a case that could have snagged a public figure.  One the other hand, it involved an African American leader.  I think she wanted to show that other officials shied away from inflaming racial tension.  She has been recently releasing supposedly graphic sexual and racial emails in an attempt to smear other colleagues. 

Ms. Kane held a press conference in advance of her arraignment to highlight the inequities in treatment caused by the existence of the old boy network.  In the past this charge was the cause for extensive civil rights protests.  It did not seem like she should have been affected by this invisible net that can keep otherwise qualified individuals from ascending to greater professional heights.  She was the most powerful attorney in the Commonwealth at the time.  The misogynistic e-mails were her attempt to portray Harrisburg as this wasteland of abuse of women and minorities.  So far this legal ploy has not worked for Ms. Kane.

Ms. Kane has tried hard to take down a sitting PA Supreme Court Justice.  Justice Michael Eakin was elected to the State Supreme Court in 2001.  He has a pretty steady career as a top jurist.  He used a private e-mail account to receive questionable emails involving pornographic and racist subjects.  He has apologized for the content of the emails and was cleared by a jury of his peers of the conduct.  Ms. Kane criticized an attorney in her office for basically giving Justice Eakin a pass for these emails.  She is not going down without a fight.  It is sad to see her trying to rally citizens of Pennsylvania around a topic that has been addressed and usually covered by email policies.  Her decision to leak confidential grand jury information, bolstered by her signing a secrecy oath, has been the main cause of her legal troubles in the Commonwealth.  If the old boys network still exists, I think they get a pass in this instance.

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