Pennsylvania committee delays vote on attorney general’s removal

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 12, 2016 6:57 PM

By David DeKok

HARRISBURG, Pa. (Reuters) - A Pennsylvania Senate committee delayed a vote on Tuesday on whether to recommend removing embattled Attorney General Kathleen Kane from her post because of a suspended law license.

The move to put off the vote followed testimony from former Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell and the attorney general's chief of staff, Jonathan Decker, who said Kane could continue to perform her job adequately without a law license.

Rendell and Decker said a number of subordinates could do the small parts of Kane's job that require a license. 

“The only time it would be relevant for the attorney general not to be able to go to court would be if everyone else was wiped out,” Rendell said.

Decker said the removal of Kane could damage or destroy her policy initiatives, including those in drug law enforcement.

Kane, a Democrat, took office in January 2013 after being elected to her post. She had her license suspended by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court after being charged last summer with illegally leaking grand jury information to a reporter to embarrass a rival and lying about it to another grand jury.

Republican members of the committee on Tuesday argued the license was vital to Kane's role as attorney general.

“People elected someone who had a law license,” said state Senator Gene Yaw, a Republican. “Without a law license, that person does not exist.”

The committee is scheduled to vote on whether to recommend the removal of Kane in the next 15 days. After that, the full, Republican-controlled state Senate will vote on Kane's fate.

(Editing by Laila Kearney and Peter Cooney)