HARRISBURG - Former Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane, who resigned this week after her conviction for perjury and other crimes, may still face impeachment.
The chairman of a key House panel said he would continue to push for impeachment to set the stage for Senate action that could bar her from elected office in the future.
State Rep. Todd Stephens (R., Montgomery), who chairs a subcommittee that had been investigating Kane, said her conviction underscored the need for legislative action.
"Impeachment is the only mechanism today that can ensure that Kathleen Kane never serves in elected office again," Stephens said. "Convictions can be overturned, pardons can be granted, all kinds of things happen."
Despite Kane's resignation, he said, "the criminal conviction actually makes it even more important for us to move forward and to ensure that she can't hold an office of public trust or profit in this commonwealth again."
On Monday, a Montgomery County Court jury convicted Kane of two felony counts of perjury and seven misdemeanor counts of abusing the power of her office. Prosecutors said the attorney general, once a rising star among Pennsylvania Democrats, orchestrated an illegal leak of secret grand jury documents in a bid to punish a foe and then lied about it under oath.
Kane resigned from office Wednesday.
The subcommittee that has been investigating whether Kane should be impeached plans to present a report on its findings to the House Judiciary Committee, which would then vote on whether to recommend that the House impeach Kane.
If the House voted to impeach, the Senate would take up the question of so-called conviction, a vote that would ban Kane from holding elected office.
Rep. Joseph Petrarca (D., Westmoreland), the highest-ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said he believes the legislature has better things to do than pursue the impeachment of an attorney general who has resigned.
"Not only has she been convicted, she has left office," he said. "I think that we have spent enough time and money on Kathleen Kane, that it's time to move on."
There is precedent for what Stephens proposes.
In 1994, after Supreme Court Justice Rolf Larsen was convicted of conspiracy, the state House impeached him, and the Senate affirmed months later, barring him from holding office in the future.