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Kathleen Kane

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Kathleen Kane
Kathleen Kane 2013.jpg
Attorney General of Pennsylvania
Incumbent
In office
January 15, 2013-present
Term ends
2017
Years in position 1
PartyDemocratic
PredecessorLinda L. Kelly (R)
Compensation
Base salary$155,797
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First electedNovember 6, 2012
Next generalNovember 8, 2016
Campaign $$5,722,825
Term limits2 terms
Prior offices
Deputy District Attorney for Lackawanna County
Education
Bachelor'sUniversity of Scranton (1988)
J.D.Temple University School of Law (1993)
Personal
Place of birthScranton, Pennsylvania
ProfessionProsecutor
Websites
Office website
Personal website
Campaign website
Kathleen Kane campaign logo
Kathleen Granahan Kane (b. in Scranton, Pennsylvania) is the current Democratic Attorney General of Pennsylvania. Kane won the 2012 election for Attorney General of Pennsylvania on November 6, 2012, and was sworn into office on January 15, 2013.[1][2] Kane is the first woman and the first Democrat to hold the office since it became an elected position in 1980.[3]

While Kane benefited from turnout due to the re-election of Barack Obama, she outpolled him in some areas of the state and also won some traditionally Republican areas.[4]

A major focus of her 2012 campaign revolved around former Attorney General Tom Corbett's three-year long investigation into Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky. Criticized for taking so much time to arrest and charge Sandusky, Corbett's handling of the matter appeared to hurt Republicans, something Kane capitalized on.[5] After being in office for less than a month Kane appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the Sandusky case.[6]

A January 2013 article in Governing named Kane as one of the top state Democratic officials to watch in 2013.[7]

Biography

Kane was born and raised in Scranton, PA, where she attended public grade-school and received her bachelor's degree. After graduating from the University of Scranton, Kane moved to Philadelphia to earn her J.D. at Temple University School of Law. She remained in Philadelphia to launch her legal career at the firm of Post & Schell, P.C., getting her feet wet in the field of civil litigation before returning home to take the position as Assistant District Attorney in the Lackawanna County District Attorney’s Office.[2] It was in this role that Kane established her specialties in the courtroom, prosecuting over 3,000 cases related to child sexual assault, elder abuse, and public corruption.[8]

In a move that won her the crucial endorsement of former President Bill Clinton years later, Kane left her post at the District Attorney's office in 2007 to coordinate Hillary Rodham Clinton's Presidential primary campaign efforts in Northeast Pennsylvania. Although Clinton lost the 2008 Democratic nomination to President Obama, she carried Pennsylvania in the primary.

Kane made her first run for statewide office in 2012 as a Democratic candidate for Attorney General of Pennsylvania. During the race, she adopted the mantra "A prosecutor, not a politician," to highlight the difference between herself, a career prosecutor in Pennsylvania, and her primary opponent, Patrick Murphy; at the time, Murphy had not tried cases in the state and Kane suggested his close ties to Washington foreshadowed ambitions - in the tradition of Keystone attorneys general - to use the position as a springboard toward higher office.[9]

Education

  • Bachelor's degree, University of Scranton
  • J.D., Temple University School of Law, Philadelphia

Political career

Pennsylvania Attorney General (2013-present)

Kane was elected Pennsylvania's first Democratic, female attorney general on November 6, 2012. She officially succeeded Linda Kelly (R) on January 15, 2013.

Issues

Tensions with Gov. Corbett

After being in office for less than a month Kane appointed a special prosecutor to investigate Gov. Corbett's handling of the high profile Jerry Sandusky child sexual assault case.[10] Also among her first acts in the position, Kane blocked Corbett's controversial bid to privatize the state lottery. The feud escalated in July 2013 when Kane refused to enforce or defend Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage. Attorneys general are primarily responsible for upholding state laws and serving as the state's legal counsel, although the Commonwealth Attorneys Act permits attorneys general to delegate the job of defending the state or any of its agencies in a lawsuit under special circumstances. Kane's decision to prioritize her own ideological code instead of state law alienated Corbett in addition to many members of the Republican-controlled state legislature, some of whom called for her impeachment. Kane, believing Pennsylvania's law preventing gay marriage is "wholly unconstitutional," ceded the duty of representing the state in Whitewood vs. Corbett, a legal challenge seeking to overturn the 1996 statute defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, to Corbett's office.[11][12] as

Corbett indicated through press statements that her emotional judgement on the statute lacked the substance worthy of the theoretically apolitical office, and called her sincerity into question. Despite Kane being within her rights to hand off the case, Corbett retaliated against his rising rival by telling reporters he's never seen or heard of an attorney general refusing to participate in the defense of a statute's constitutionality. He implied Kane's decision, while technically legal, was nonetheless a violation of unwritten rules. "It is merely her opinion," stated Corbett, to underline a popular notion among Corbett's camp and other Kane critics that the ambitious former Lackawanna prosecutor was only posturing to climb the political ladder.[13]

Protecting Financial Aid for Students and Taxpayers Act

On March 11, 2013, Kane, together with twelve other state attorneys general, sent a letter to Congress in support of the Protecting Financial Aid for Students and Taxpayers Act, a bill which would ban for-profit colleges from using federal funds for marketing and recruiting techniques.[14] Sponsored by Senators Kay R. Hagan (D-NC) and Tom Harkin (D-IA), who chairs the chamber's Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, the law aims to “ensure that scarce federal education dollars will be used to serve and educate students rather than to finance advertising campaigns, recruitment operations, and aggressive marketing.”[15] Consumer protection is one of the key duties assigned to the attorney general in each state.

According to the law's text, student enrollment at for-profit degree-issuing institutions such as the University of Phoenix more than doubled between 1998-2008, during which time the federal government--through student financial assistance programs--provided 86% of revenues to 15 reviewed publicly traded companies operating these for-profit colleges. A separate analysis of 15 such companies concluded that, on average, 28% of all expenditures were on advertising, marketing, and recruiting. Critics, including the attorneys general responsible for the letter advocating the bill's passage, contend that these expenditures are used to deceive consumers about program costs, graduation rates, or their employment potential beyond graduation. The bill seeks to restrict spending of this nature by higher education institutions or other postsecondary educational institution by prohibiting use of federal loans or grants in specific areas, and requiring that all such institutions whose revenues can be traced to federal educational assistance funds "report annually to the Secretary and to Congress the institution's expenditures on advertising, marketing, and recruiting."[14]

In the letter, the attorneys general urged, “Federal taxpayers should not be asked to foot the bill for aggressive recruiting and deceptive sales tactics of colleges that have placed profits ahead of ensuring student success.”[16] There are an estimated 3,000 for-profit schools nationwide, though neither the letter nor the bill cited the name of a specific institution.[17]


Florida Gun Loophole

The Attorney General of Pennsylvania was authorized by the General Assembly in 1995 to enter into reciprocity agreements with other states.[18] In her administration's "first official step" toward improving state gun safety law, Kane announced on February 8, 2013 that a loophole within its Pennsylvania's concealed-carry reciprocity agreement with Florida had been closed.[19] Commonly referred to as the "Florida Gun Loophole," a Pennsylvanian who was denied a concealed-carry permit or had his or her in-state permit revoked was allowed to obtain an equally valid license from Florida since the agreement was first established in 2001. Kane closed the loophole by negotiating with Florida officials on a new version of the agreement under which Pennsylvania residents holding Florida-issued permits are required to apply for a Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearm (LCTF). The modified agreement retains "all the same rights and recognition" of aptly licensed Florida residents, however, to carry a firearm in Pennsylvania on the condition they can produce immediate verification of their Florida residency.

As of February 2013, Pennsylvania holds agreements with 28 states. This includes Florida, where beyond the updated agreement's implementation, Pennsylvania-issued concealed-carry permits continue to be honored.[18][20]

Gun control

In the aftermath of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, public officials across the United States were forced to answer for their states' gun safety policies and reiterate their stances on gun-rights; Some leaders used the platform to rebuke their gun control policies as insufficient, while others' sounded of their excess.[21]

One month prior to the shooting, Kane won election as attorney general on a series of campaign promises which included buckling down on enforcement of Pennsylvania's public safety laws. Before she was sworn into office, she collaborated with sitting attorneys general such as New York's Eric Schneiderman and California's Kamala D. Harris on a letter to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urging them to oppose two bills - The National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act and The Respecting States’ Rights and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act - that would make states recognize concealed carry permits issued by any other states. "These bills would create a lowest common denominator approach to public safety that would endanger police and make it more difficult to prosecute gun traffickers," the letter warned.[22] According to Kane, a former Lackawanna prosecutor, closing the "Florida Gun Loophole" - which nullified Florida-issued gun permits for Pennsylvania residents, requiring them to apply for Pennsylvania-issued permits - "shows that it is possible to swiftly implement common sense gun safety measures that protect our streets."[23]

Marijuana

At a conference of the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors in May 2013, Kane said she opposed legalizing marijuana because it leads to harder drug use. “When you don’t get your high from marijuana you’re going to turn to something else. It’s going to be oxycodone and then it’s going to be heroin. It doesn’t stop just at marijuana. I oppose it for criminal justice reasons,” she stated.[24]

Elections

2016

Kane's first year in the attorney general's office ended with reports she is seriously considering a bid for U.S. Senate in 2016. Speculation about her prospective Sen. candidacy intensified after a November survey from Public Policy Polling Institute showed her beating current GOP incumbent U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey 46-42 in a hypothetical match-up.[25][26]

2012

See also: Pennsylvania attorney general election, 2012

Kane ran successfully on the 2012 Democratic ticket for attorney general of Pennsylvania. She defeated Patrick J. Murphy in the Democratic primary election on April 24, 2012, and two challengers - David Freed (R) and Marakay Rogers (L) - in the general election on November 6, 2012.[27]

Attorney General of Pennsylvania General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngKathleen Kane 56.1% 3,125,557
     Republican David Freed 41.6% 2,313,506
     Libertarian Marakay Rogers 2.3% 128,140
Total Votes 5,567,203
Election Results via Pennsylvania Department of State.


  • Primary
Attorney General of Pennsylvania, Democratic Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngKathleen Kane 52.8% 371,862
Patrick Murphy 47.2% 331,778
Total Votes 703,640
Election Results Via:Pennsylvania Department of State (accessed April 25, 2012).


Issues

  • Photo ID Bill

Kane stood firmly on her party's line on the subject of Pennsylvania's pending legislation requiring voters to present photo identification in order for their votes to be counted. She agreed with fellow candidates Murphy and Bailey that the bill, versions of which had already been ratified in fifteen states,[28] violates the constitutional rights of against elderly, minority and poor voters- those most unlikely to possess the necessary forms of identification. Devised as an impediment to voter fraud, Kane called the bill "a solution in search of a problem."[29] Along with her Democratic cohorts, she pledged her support of others' efforts to challenge the law's constitutionality in the courts; If elected, however, she said she would enforce the law indiscriminately of her personal feelings.[29]

  • Easing restrictions on wiretapping

Both Kane and her opponent David Freed (R) criticized the state's laws on wiretapping, which dictate the admission requirements of incriminating recordings as evidence in the courtroom. Currently, audio or video proof of criminal activity is legally immaterial if captured without the advance knowledge and permission of the parties being recorded. The growing prevalence of smart phones and other easy-recording technologies have resulted in a corresponding increase in incriminating recordings.[30] Freed and Kane agree that the laws are out of date and support a bill to overhaul the laws after 14 years of stagnancy. Kane registered her support of the pending House bill which will, "among other things, allow conversations to be recorded anywhere "so long as a notice about the possibility of being recorded is posted."[31] She said that she wants to see updated laws regulating audio recordings, and noted "that video recordings are ubiquitous nowadays."[31]

  • Political corruption cases

Kane said she would use the attorney general's office to cultivate partnerships with district attorneys and the U.S. Attorney General to ensure against jurisdictional constraints and conflicts of interest in the investigation and prosecution of corrupt public officials. “Political corruption cases are no place for a prosecutorial ‘turf-war’ to be waged,” Kane said in response to a questionnaire distributed by The Legal Intelligencer in April.[32]

  • Amending law on prosecuting sex predators

Having served as prosecutor on hundreds of sexual abuse cases, Kane is passionate about victims' rights and proper legal handling of sexual predators. She called upon the Pennsylvania General Assembly and Governor Corbett to amend the state law which includes a statute of limitations against prosecuting sexual predators. Already a central issue of her campaign, Kane spoke out against the current law, calling it arbitrary. "I believe law enforcement must be provided the legal means to arrest and prosecute sexual offenders, regardless if the crime occurred a week ago or decades ago," she said in December, 2011.[33]

  • Ultrasound Bill

Although the mandatory ultrasound proposal was stalled in the House during election season, the issue was food for debate for the 2012 attorney general candidates in the race. Democratic candidate Patrick Murphy made the bill a focus of his campaign, calling it “blatantly unconstitutional,” and prompted both Kane and Republican candidate David Freed, to engage in the discussion. Kane took umbridge with the implication Murphy made during a campaign event about his primary opponent not being militant enough in the fight against the bill. She said “I don’t understand why Democrats, two Democrats who, by his own words, who oppose this bill are even arguing about it; We both oppose the bill; We both agree that it is unconstitutional. Neither one of us will enforce it.”[34] Speaking to a crowd of women at a campaign event in Philadelphia on April 14, Kane referred to the proposal as "little more than an illegal search and seizure” that would give drug dealers greater rights than women.[35]

  • Healthcare reform

Responding to a questionnaire issued by The Legal Intelligencer in April 2012, Kane pledged, if elected, to withdraw Pennsylvania from the multistate lawsuit brought by state attorneys general against the Affordable Care Act the moment she took office. "Health care in this country is broken. Our Constitution affords a criminal the right to an attorney but doesn't afford a sick child a doctor. That is unconscionable."[36]

Endorsements

For a relative newcomer Kane made a quite splash, snagging a high-profile endorsement from former President Bill Clinton in March of 2012 before the primary election. A Kane campaign press release featured Clinton's words of support for the attorney general candidate: "She is a great Democrat who understands that an Attorney General’s job is to stand up for consumers and people...I’m proud to endorse my friend Kathleen Kane and I hope she’ll become the first woman ever elected Attorney General by the people of Pennsylvania.”[37] Clinton went on to stump for Kane at campaign events leading up to the April 24 primary, which she won.

  • Bill Clinton
  • The Philadelphia Inquirer[38]
  • Patrick Murphy officially endorsed his former primary election opponent on May 15, acknowledging the competitive nature of the contest which led him to that point. He called the race "a family fight" and urged Democrats to rally behind Kane in the general election.[39]

Controversies

Republican PAC attack ad

In late September 2012, the Republican State Leadership Committee in Washington, D.C., the PAC backing Freed (R) paid $558,700 to air a television advertisement on select Philadelphia stations containing what turned out to be false attacks on Kane.[40] The RSLC ad cited an example of a plea bargain that had been made in a rape case during Kane's stint at the Lackawanna District Attorney's office, inaccurately portraying her involvement in the deal to make her look "soft" on rape. Soon after its release, the content of the ad was refuted by the father of one of the two rape victims whose cases were mentioned. “I’d like to ask the people who made this outrageous advertisement if they would like their daughter’s tragic story all over television...if they can't convince people to vote for [Freed] without lying, he should not even be running,” the father wrote in a letter first published in the Philadelphia Daily News.[40] Documentation provided by the DA's office confirmed the father's claim that Kane's involvement in the case was purely administrative and ended after the preliminary filing stage, leading the PAC to pull the ad and publicly acknowledge the error.[41] The RSLC removed any reference to the rape case and promptly re-released the edited version, but continued airing the original ad on their website, angering the campaign more. “Freed needs to tell his people to take their ad down immediately and take their special interest money and their dirty tricks and get out of Pennsylvania. The people of Pennsylvania deserve better,” said a campaign spokesman.[42] After significant prodding by Kane's campaign, Freed's campaign manager commented on the controversy, saying, "It’s our sincere hope that our opponent, as well as any outside groups that are supporting our campaign or our opponent’s campaign, conduct themselves in an honest and ethical manner.”[42]

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Kane is available dating back to 2012. Based on available campaign finance records, Kane raised a total of $5,722,825 during that time period. This information was last updated on June 7, 2013.[43]

Kathleen Kane's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Pennsylvania Attorney General Won $5,722,825
Grand Total Raised $5,722,825

2012

Kane to the position of Pennsylvania Attorney General in 2012. During that election cycle, Kane raised a total of $5,722,825.

Personal

Kathleen lives in Clarks Summit, PA with her husband Chris and their two sons, Christopher and Zach.

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Contact

Pennsylvania

Committee to Elect Kathleen Kane
P.O. Box 20182
Scranton, PA 18503

Tel: (570) 580-0860
E-mail: info@kathleenkane.com

See also

External links

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References

  1. Philadelphia Inquirer, "Election Results 2012," accessed November 7, 2012
  2. 2.0 2.1 Kathleen Kane for Attorney General of Pennsylvania, "About Kathleen," accessed February 13, 2012
  3. Philly.com, "Kane becomes 1st woman - and 1st Democrat - to become Pa. attorney general," November 8, 2012
  4. The Morning Call, "How Kathleen Kane did it," November 7, 2012
  5. The Morning Call, "Kathleen Kane sworn in as Pennsylvania attorney general," January 15. 2013
  6. Onward State, "Kathleen Kane Names Special Prosecutor to Investigate Sandusky Case," February 4, 2013
  7. Governing, "State Democratic Officials to Watch in 2013," accessed January 25, 2013
  8. Essential Public Radio, "Attorney General candidate profile: Kathleen Kane," April 18, 2012
  9. Pittsburgh Tribune Review, "Democratic AG hopefuls Kane, Murphy tout experience," April 16, 2012
  10. Onward State, "Kathleen Kane Names Special Prosecutor to Investigate Sandusky Case," February 4, 2013
  11. The Daily Pennsylvanian, "Pennsylvania same-sex marriage lawsuit develops," October 2, 2013
  12. abclocal.com, "Pennsylvania Attorney General won't defend gay marriage ban," July 11, 2013
  13. The Pittsburgh-Tribune, "Kane to Corbett: Don't tell me what to do," July 31, 2013
  14. 14.0 14.1 The Library of Congress, "Bill Text 113th Congress (2013-2014) S.528.IS," March 12, 2013
  15. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named agsletter
  16. The Boston Globe, "Attorney generals to Congress: Don’t let for-profit colleges use federal grants and loans for advertising," March 17, 2013
  17. Commonwealth of Kentucky Office of the Attorney General, "Letter to Congress," March 11, 2013
  18. 18.0 18.1 Pennsylvania Attorney General, "Firearm Reciprocity Agreements," accessed February 12, 2013
  19. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Pa. attorney general closes 'Florida loophole' on concealed-gun permits," February 8, 2013
  20. Pennsylvania Attorney General, "Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane Implements Gun Safety Reform: Closes Gun Loophole with Florida," February 8, 2013
  21. WGME 13, "Gov. Malloy's Newtown panel meets for 1st time," January 24, 2013
  22. National Rifle Association Institute of Legislative Action, "AG Opposition Letter," December 3, 2013
  23. USA Today, "Where each state stands on gun-control legislation," January 14, 2013
  24. Lehigh Valley Live, "Pennsylvania's attorney general opposes pot legalization," May 17, 2013
  25. The Philadelphia Inquirer, "Sources: A.G. Kane mulls U.S. Senate run," December 13, 2013
  26. PoliticsPA, "PPP Poll: Kane leads Toomey in 2016 Senate matchup," November 27, 2013
  27. Philadelphia Inquirer, "Election Results 2012," accessed November 7, 2012
  28. National State Conference of Legislatures "Voter Identification," March 12, 2012
  29. 29.0 29.1 Associated Press, "Pa. photo ID bill divides candidates for state attorney general along party lines," March 11, 2012
  30. San Francisco Chronicle, "In AG race, GOP's Freed favors video as evidence," July 27, 2012
  31. 31.0 31.1 Times Online, "Kane says independence makes her better AG choice," July 27, 2012
  32. The Legal Intelligencer, "Kathleen Kane Responds to The Legal's Questionnaire," April 17, 2012
  33. Press release:Kathleen Kane, "AG candidate end statute of limitations on changes against sexual predators," December 22, 2011
  34. WITF.org, "Mandatory ultrasound bill still animates AG race," April 12, 2012
  35. Capital Ideas with John L Micek, "The Sunday Brunch: Meet the democrats for attorney general," April 15, 2012
  36. The Legal Intelligencer, "Kathleen Kane Responds to The Legal's Questionnaire," April 17, 2012
  37. Keystone Politics "Bill Clinton endorses Kathleen Kane for AG," March 26, 2012
  38. The Philadelphia Inquirer, "Experience tilts scale for Kane," April 14, 2012
  39. Cumberland Link, "Murphy backs Kane for PA attorney general," May 15, 2012
  40. 40.0 40.1 Philadelphia Daily News, "Rape victim's dad called GOP group's ad about Kane a lie," September 21, 2012
  41. PoliticsPA, "Father of rape victim rebukes anti-Kane group," September 21, 2012
  42. 42.0 42.1 PoliticsPA, "3 Days Later, GOP Anti-Kane Ad Still Around (Watch Video)," September 24, 2012
  43. Follow the Money, " Career fundraising for Kathleen Kane," accessed June 7, 2013
Political offices
Preceded by
Linda Kelly (R)
Attorney General of Pennsylvania
2013-present
Succeeded by
-