After a tumultuous two years of investigations, allegations, prosecutions and, finally, convictions, the saga of PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane now has an end date.
After being convicted on all nine counts in her perjury trial on Aug. 15, Kane announced today that she would step down effective tomorrow, Aug. 17. Her office issued a short statement in which Kane said, "I have been honored to serve the people of Pennsylvania and I wish them health and safety in all their days."
Her conviction was the result of an investigation that began in 2014 based on whether she lied to a grand jury about planting leaks to discredit Frank Fina, one of her former prosecutors, in retaliation for what she alleged was Fina's leaking of a sting on PA legislators that she ordered shut down.
Once one of the state's rising Democratic stars, Kane had her license to practice law suspended by the PA Supreme Court last year, and ultimately chose not to seek re-election.
One of the men seeking to replace her, Democratic Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro, issued the following statement upon learning of her resignation announcement:
"This is a sad moment for our Commonwealth and now that the Attorney General has chosen to step down we must work together to restore public trust in our democracy and ensure the people's business – protecting consumers, fighting the heroin epidemic, and keeping our communities safe - comes first."
Gov. Tom Wolf also released a statement, which read in part:
“What has transpired with Attorney General Kane is unfortunate. Her decision to resign is the right one, and will allow the people of Pennsylvania to finally move on from this situation. I have full faith and confidence in the employees of the Office of the Attorney General and know that they will continue to perform its most important functions including protecting consumers and prosecuting criminals. Moving forward, I will work with both Republicans and Democrats in the Senate regarding any potential appointment of an Attorney General.”
Kane, who could face up to seven years in prison, will be sentenced on Oct. 24.
Despite the timing of the conviction and sentencing so close to the election for attorney general, Professor of Public Affairs and Director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall College Terry Madonna doesn't think the case will affect PA voters.
"Voters aren't going to vote for (Republican candidate and PA Sen. John) Rafferty because Kane is a Democrat," he said.
Madonna, a veteran observer and analyst of decades of state political scandals, added that the Kane case was sui generis.
"This was unlike any other corruption case I've followed in 35 years," he explained. "This was personal. This wasn’t pay-to-play, ‘if you don’t give me money, you're done’ –
this involved two words: retaliation and revenge."