Former Attorney General Kathleen Kane is headed to jail, but questions remain about the apparent misdeeds and botched cases she left behind.
Kane was convicted in August of leaking grand jury information to a reporter and then lying about it under oath. She was sentenced to 10 to 23 months in prison last month, but is free pending appeals.
A legislative panel rightly continues to examine Kane's reign of error during her tumultuous 3½ years as the state's top law enforcement official. A full examination of Kane's actions in office is needed. To reference Richard Nixon: People need to know if their attorney general was a crook in other ways.
One case in particular stands out. During a House subcommittee hearing Monday, a former state prosecutor testified that Kane quashed the investigation of a former state gambling official with ties to influential Scranton businessman Louis DeNaples.
Shortly after taking office in 2013, Kane revoked subpoenas already delivered to DeNaples, a former casino owner, and William Conaboy, another political power player in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Kane told colleagues the prosecutor running the case was "too aggressive" and placing an unfair burden on DeNaples and Conaboy, who were not the investigation's targets.
Several months after the subpoenas were dropped, DeNaples, through one of his business interests, gave Kane a $25,000 campaign contribution. She later returned the contribution.
The casino investigation was one of two major public corruption cases Kane inherited after taking office, and she seems to have bungled both.
She also pulled the plug on an undercover sting operation that caught several Democratic elected officials in Philadelphia pocketing cash and gifts. Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams resurrected that case and a number of the officials pled guilty.
In the casino case, state prosecutors were focused on whether Donald Shiffer, an assistant counsel at the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board fed DeNaples information about the review of his application for a casino license. Shiffer denied any wrongdoing and was never charged with a crime.
DeNaples was awarded a casino license in 2006. Two years later, Shiffer became the general counsel of DeNaples' casino in the Poconos. In 2009, DeNaples, who has a previous unrelated felony conviction, turned over ownership of the casino to his daughter in a deal with Dauphin County prosecutors who had charged him with lying about his alleged ties to mobsters. In return, perjury charges against DeNaples were dropped.
Testimony from the subcommittee hearing chaired by State Rep. Todd Stephens (R., Montgomery) detailed other instances where Kane abused her power.
Credit Stephens for conducting the hearings even after Kane's conviction, especially since federal prosecutors appear to have taken a pass.
Going forward, Attorney General-elect Josh Shapiro should review any and all cases Kane may have botched. A full airing of her misconduct is needed in order to restore integrity to the office.