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Politics & Government

Kane To Outline Staffing Procedures As Activist Fights For Her Dismissal

Bradley C. Bower
AP Photo

An activist is trying to enlist Pennsylvania’s high court in his effort to drive besieged state Attorney General Kathleen Kane out of office.

Gene Stilp of Dauphin County plans to sue the state Senate and the governor in an effort to prompt them to oust Kane by way of a vaguely defined process in the state Constitution known as “direct removal.” For more than a month, legislative aides have pondered the move, though it’s not clear how it would work.

Stilp said he would file the suit Tuesday “to force Governor Wolf and the Senate to remove Kathleen Kane as soon as possible.” Stilp has previously called for Kane to resign, following criminal charges filed against her in August by the Montgomery County district attorney’s office.

“She cannot function as attorney general and also she has a list of crimes that she’s going to be tried for,” Stilp added. “This is not the person we want as attorney general.”

Stilp said his filing would ask the Supreme Court to take up the suit using its King’s Bench authority over cases of immediate public consequence. He said the upcoming effective date of Kane’s law license suspension makes his request more urgent.

In the meantime, Kane’s law license will be suspended Thursday, though how that will affect her official abilities remains unclear. She is expected to outline the practical effect of her law license suspension this week in a memo to her staff.

“She is the one under the restriction. She is the one that will have to ensure that she is not in violation of any of the facets of the suspension,” said her office spokesman Chuck Ardo. “Because this is an unprecedented situation, there are no established ground rules.”

Kane is the first elected state attorney general to have her law license yanked while she’s still in office. The state Supreme Court voted for the temporary suspension last month due to pending criminal charges against her. Neither the court nor the disciplinary board for Pennsylvania attorneys has clarified how the suspension could hinder the state attorney general’s powers.

Kane faces perjury counts and other charges for allegedly feeding confidential information to a newspaper and trying to cover it up. She maintains her innocence.