Attorney General Kathleen Kane has announced she is not seeking re-election, capping a stunning fall from the height of state Democratic politics.
Kane, a first-term Democrat who is facing criminal charges and potential impeachment, vowed to continue to “fight tirelessly” against the “good ole’ boys network” that she said has destroyed public trust in the justice system.
Her roughly nine-minute announcement began in what appeared to be campaign-mode, as she ticked through her office’s accomplishments and said there was more work to be done to fight crime and stand up for consumers.
But in the end, Kane, the first woman and Democrat elected to the post, said as a single mother she needs to devote more time to her two young boys.
“I will tell you that I love being the attorney general. I love serving the people of Pennsylvania,” Kane told a room of about two dozen reporters during a press conference in downtown Scranton. “I hope that they know that, and I hope that they feel that.”
“While I love Pennsylvania, I love my sons first,” she said. “I’m a mother first and foremost because at the end of my life I hope that history judges me well. But that’s for time to tell. I hope more that God and my sons judge me well.”
She also implored those seeking the office of Attorney General to speak out against “injustices” as she has, and pledged to continue her fight until she leaves office.
“Every single day since I was elected I’ve been trying to make sure we clean up this commonwealth,” Kane said. “I tried to make sure we clean it and rid it of politicians, elected officials, judges, lawyers, prosecutors, whomever take advantage of our system of justice that’s rooted in the constitution.”
“I fought tirelessly to make sure that that happens and I will continue to fight tirelessly to make sure that continues to happen,” she said. “…I told you I would fight corruption and I’m fighting corruption regardless of the personal cost to me.”
“Together, when the people and the government and the elected officials stand with me to fight these battles in tearing down this ole’ boys network, we will hand back to the citizens of this commonwealth the system of justice that they deserve and not the one that they have,” she said. “When we accomplish all of that I will rest peacefully and easily knowing that we marched into hell for an unheavenly foe, and we won.”
Although elected as a neophyte, Kane made waves as a leading Democratic politician when she took a hard stance against the state’s ban on same-sex marriage and rebuffing a high-profile initiative by former Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, to privatize management of the Pennsylvania Lottery.
Her office also led a high-profile review of the state’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. The review, while a flop in terms of her claim that the investigation was slow-walked for political reasons, uncovered millions of internal emails shared by past investigators under her Republican predecessors.
Embarrassing emails, containing crude, pornographic, racist, homophobic and misogynistic jokes, were released piecemeal by Kane, leading to resignations of top former OAG staff. A state Supreme Court judge also resigned after being tied to the emails.
Last year, prosecutors in Montgomery County charged Kane with several crimes related to a leak of grand jury information from her office. They say she did it to embarrass a political foe. She denies any wrongdoing. The state Supreme Court subsequently suspended her law license.
Since then, another justice has been suspended after Kane released his private emails.
She has faced calls to resign from top Democrats and Republicans. Last month, she survived a removal vote in the state Senate, but the state House of Representatives approved an initial impeachment investigation.
Kane’s announcement came on the deadline to file nominating petitions for office.