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Politics & Government

Amid Kane Criticism, a Renewed Impeachment Campaign

One of state Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s fiercest critics in the state House is renewing his resolution for her impeachment.

“Despite the passage of time and the evolution of this issue, the core concerns regarding her performance in office remain the same,” writes Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) in a co-sponsorship memo. “The Attorney General has failed to perform the duties of her office on a number of occasions and she has engaged in misbehavior in office.”

The second proposal for Kane’s impeachment comes in the wake of scathing criticism from within her own party.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams last week charged two more public officials who were nabbed in the sting operation Kane abandoned.  Williams said the grand jury investigating the sting found Kane mischaracterized the case when she called it flawed and racist, and that she made false statements to defend shutting down the probe.

U.S. Congressman Bob Brady, chairman of the Philadelphia Democratic Party, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that Kane seems “asleep at the switch.”

Metcalfe’s pursuit of impeachment began in 2013, when Kane alarmed conservatives after announcing she would close the “Florida loophole” for conceal-carry gun permits and refuse to defend the state’s same-sex marriage ban, now overturned. Republicans fumed when her twin sister, already an employee of the Office of Attorney General, was promoted after Kane took office.

The decisions failed to incite Democrats, who walked out of a May committee hearing chaired by Metcalfe on his impeachment resolution. Rep. Mike O’Brien (D-Philadelphia) called it “kangaroo court,” and he still considers the reintroduced impeachment resolution a continuation of what he called Metcalfe’s “personal vendetta.” But O’Brien does agree that concerns are mounting over Kane’s decisions.

“I don’t think we as Democrats are turning our backs and saying what a wonderful job she’s doing,” O’Brien said.

The state impeachment process is lengthy, and the state constitution states that convictions are warranted if an official engages in “misbehavior in office” or “infamous crime.”

“I don’t see ... proof that her actions have been a high crime,” said O’Brien. “I see them as certain missteps.”

What's at stake and candidate profiles for statewide races and competitive primaries in Allegheny County.