|Attorney General of Pennsylvania|
|January 15, 2013-present|
|Years in position||2|
|Predecessor||Linda L. Kelly (R)|
|Elections and appointments|
|Last election||November 6, 2012|
|First elected||November 6, 2012|
|Next general||November 8, 2016|
|Term limits||2 terms|
|Deputy District Attorney for Lackawanna County|
|Bachelor's||University of Scranton (1988)|
|J.D.||Temple University School of Law (1993)|
|Place of birth||Scranton, Pennsylvania|
- 1 Biography
- 2 Political career
- 3 Elections
- 4 Campaign donors
- 5 Personal
- 6 Recent news
- 7 Contact
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
- 10 References
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. After being in office for less than a month Kane appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the Sandusky case.
A January 2013 article in Governing named Kane as one of the top state Democratic officials to watch in 2013. A Huffington Post article published November 17, 2014, also identified Kane as one of seven Democratic state executive officials who could gain national prominence. She has attracted support from progressive groups for her refusal to defend the state's ban on same-sex marriage and the state's lawsuit against a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil.
Kane was the subject of a grand jury investigation in 2014 related to leaks of grand jury information to the Philadelphia Daily News. As of January 9, 2015, jurors had recommended criminal charges against Kane including perjury and contempt of court. Learn more about this case by jumping to the grand jury investigation section.
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. 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.
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.
- Bachelor's degree, University of Scranton
- J.D., Temple University School of Law, Philadelphia
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.
Grand jury investigation
On January 8, 2015, a grand jury recommended criminal charges against Kane for leaking information from a 2009 state investigation of civil rights leader J. Whyatt Mondesire to the Philadelphia Daily News. Kane is accused of divulging confidential material from a grand jury investigation of Mondesire, who was serving as the head of the Philadelphia chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The Daily News story in June 2014 concluded that former state prosecutor Frank G. Fina mishandled the investigation based on information supplied by Kane's office.
Special prosecutor Thomas E. Carluccio presented evidence detailing the connection between Kane's office and the leaked information as well as Kane's feud with Fina over handling of recent state investigations. Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman received the recommendations but was blocked from leveling criminal charges against Kane by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on January 22, 2015. The court's order established a minimum freeze of six weeks with a March hearing to determine whether Carluccio had standing to lead the grand-jury investigation.
Jurors recommended several charges including perjury and contempt of court following six months of deliberations in 2014. Kane has noted that her office supplied information to the Daily News, but she did not approve the release of any material protected by grand-jury secrecy laws. She has also argued that the investigation is based on partisanship as Ferman, Carluccio and Montgomery County Judge William Carpenter are Republicans. Kane's attorney, Lanny J. Davis, raised questions about how media outlets like The Philadelphia Inquirer received information about grand-jury proceedings against his client. If arrested, Kane would join Ernest Preate Jr. as the only attorneys general in the state's history to face criminal charges. Preate resigned in 1995 after pleading guilty to federal charges of accepting illegal contributions.
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. 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. 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.
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. 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.” 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 percent 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 percent 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."
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.” There are an estimated 3,000 for-profit schools nationwide, though neither the letter nor the bill cited the name of a specific institution.
Florida Gun Loophole
The Attorney General of Pennsylvania was authorized by the General Assembly in 1995 to enter into reciprocity agreements with other states. 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. 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.
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.
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. 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."
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.
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.
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.
|Attorney General of Pennsylvania General Election, 2012|
|Election Results via Pennsylvania Department of State.|
|Attorney General of Pennsylvania, Democratic Primary, 2012|
|Election Results via Pennsylvania Department of State (accessed April 25, 2012).|
- 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, 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." 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.
- 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. 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." She said that she wants to see updated laws regulating audio recordings, and noted "that video recordings are ubiquitous nowadays."
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.” 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.
- 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."
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.” 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
- 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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.”
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.
|Kathleen Kane's Campaign Contribution History|
|2012||Pennsylvania Attorney General||$5,722,825|
|Grand Total Raised||$5,722,825|
Kane to the position of Pennsylvania Attorney General in 2012. During that election cycle, Kane raised a total of $5,722,825.
|Pennsylvania Attorney General 2012 election - Campaign Contributions|
|Top contributors to Kathleen Kane's campaign in 2012|
|Pennsylvania Association for Justice||$558,000|
|Pennsylvania Service Employees||$105,250|
|Democratic Attorneys General Association||$100,000|
|Total Raised in 2012||$5,722,825|
|Total Votes received in 2012||3,125,557|
|Cost of each vote received||$1.83|
|Source:Follow the Money|
Kathleen lives in Clarks Summit, PA with her husband Chris and their two sons, Christopher and Zach.
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Committee to Elect Kathleen Kane
P.O. Box 20182
Scranton, PA 18503
Tel: (570) 580-0860
- Attorney General of Pennsylvania
- Pennsylvania attorney general election, 2012
- Pennsylvania candidate keeps us guessing
- Pennsylvania Attorney General's office
- Official Campaign Website
- Biography from Project Vote Smart
- PSU commentary opportunity, risk for Kane
- Kane on Facebook
- Kane on Twitter
- Kane on YouTube
- Campaign contributions: 2012
- Philadelphia Inquirer, "Election Results 2012," accessed November 7, 2012
- Kathleen Kane for Attorney General of Pennsylvania, "About Kathleen," accessed February 13, 2012
- Philly.com, "Kane becomes 1st woman - and 1st Democrat - to become Pa. attorney general," November 8, 2012
- The Morning Call, "How Kathleen Kane did it," November 7, 2012
- The Morning Call, "Kathleen Kane sworn in as Pennsylvania attorney general," January 15. 2013
- Onward State, "Kathleen Kane Names Special Prosecutor to Investigate Sandusky Case," February 4, 2013
- Governing, "State Democratic Officials to Watch in 2013," accessed January 25, 2013
- Huffington Post, "These Democrats Could Be The Party's Ticket To A Comeback," November 17, 2014
- Essential Public Radio, "Attorney General candidate profile: Kathleen Kane," April 18, 2012
- Pittsburgh Tribune Review, "Democratic AG hopefuls Kane, Murphy tout experience," April 16, 2012
- Philly.com, "Grand jury recommends criminal charges against Kane," January 8, 2015
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Pennsylvania court places hold on prosecution of Attorney General Kane," January 22, 2015
- Onward State, "Kathleen Kane Names Special Prosecutor to Investigate Sandusky Case," February 4, 2013
- The Daily Pennsylvanian, "Pennsylvania same-sex marriage lawsuit develops," October 2, 2013
- abclocal.com, "Pennsylvania Attorney General won't defend gay marriage ban," July 11, 2013
- The Pittsburgh-Tribune, "Kane to Corbett: Don't tell me what to do," July 31, 2013
- The Library of Congress, "Bill Text 113th Congress (2013-2014) S.528.IS," March 12, 2013
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- The Boston Globe, "Attorney generals to Congress: Don’t let for-profit colleges use federal grants and loans for advertising," March 17, 2013
- Commonwealth of Kentucky Office of the Attorney General, "Letter to Congress," March 11, 2013
- Pennsylvania Attorney General, "Firearm Reciprocity Agreements," accessed February 12, 2013 (dead link)
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Pa. attorney general closes 'Florida loophole' on concealed-gun permits," February 8, 2013
- Pennsylvania Attorney General, "Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane Implements Gun Safety Reform: Closes Gun Loophole with Florida," February 8, 2013
- WGME 13, "Gov. Malloy's Newtown panel meets for 1st time," January 24, 2013
- National Rifle Association Institute of Legislative Action, "AG Opposition Letter," December 3, 2013
- USA Today, "Where each state stands on gun-control legislation," January 14, 2013
- Lehigh Valley Live, "Pennsylvania's attorney general opposes pot legalization," May 17, 2013
- The Philadelphia Inquirer, "Sources: A.G. Kane mulls U.S. Senate run," December 13, 2013
- PoliticsPA, "PPP Poll: Kane leads Toomey in 2016 Senate matchup," November 27, 2013
- Philadelphia Inquirer, "Election Results 2012," accessed November 7, 2012
- National State Conference of Legislatures, "Voter Identification," March 12, 2012
- Associated Press, "Pa. photo ID bill divides candidates for state attorney general along party lines," March 11, 2012
- San Francisco Chronicle, "In AG race, GOP's Freed favors video as evidence," July 27, 2012
- Times Online, "Kane says independence makes her better AG choice," July 27, 2012 (dead link)
- The Legal Intelligencer, "Kathleen Kane Responds to The Legal's Questionnaire," April 17, 2012
- Press release:Kathleen Kane, "AG candidate end statute of limitations on changes against sexual predators," December 22, 2011
- WITF.org, "Mandatory ultrasound bill still animates AG race," April 12, 2012
- Capital Ideas with John L Micek, "The Sunday Brunch: Meet the democrats for attorney general," April 15, 2012
- The Legal Intelligencer, "Kathleen Kane Responds to The Legal's Questionnaire," April 17, 2012
- Keystone Politics, "Bill Clinton endorses Kathleen Kane for AG," March 26, 2012
- The Philadelphia Inquirer, "Experience tilts scale for Kane," April 14, 2012
- Cumberland Link, "Murphy backs Kane for PA attorney general," May 15, 2012
- Philadelphia Daily News, "Rape victim's dad called GOP group's ad about Kane a lie," September 21, 2012
- PoliticsPA, "Father of rape victim rebukes anti-Kane group," September 21, 2012
- PoliticsPA, "3 Days Later, GOP Anti-Kane Ad Still Around (Watch Video)," September 24, 2012
- Follow the Money, " Career fundraising for Kathleen Kane," accessed June 7, 2013
Linda Kelly (R)
|Attorney General of Pennsylvania
| Succeeded by|