With Kathleen Kane’s stepping down as Pennsylvania’s attorney general after her felony conviction, the focus is now on how to restore public confidence in the scandal-ridden office.
Kane’s former first deputy Bruce Castor is taking over the duties of attorney general for the time-being.
He said his first priority is to move the office forward.
“It’s what I’ve been trying to address since I got here, and that’s restore confidence in the public in the work that the office of the attorney general does,” said Castor, a former Montgomery County commissioner and district attorney.
Castor could technically serve until a newly elected attorney general takes office in January. But Gov. Tom Wolf may also choose to appoint a new interim attorney general.
Bruce Ledewitz, a law professor at Dusquene University, said if the public is going to have faith in the office again, Castor should be replaced as soon as possible.
“He’s obviously her man and obviously cannot begin the process of healing,” Ledewitz said. “And I’m sure that’s how the Legislature and the governor will look at it, and I’m sure they’ll try to put in an interim person, even for a few months.”
Castor was handpicked by Kane in March. Because Kane’s legal license was suspended, he handled much of the office’s legal work.
Wolf hasn’t yet announced any plans to appoint an interim attorney general to replace him.
Ledewitz added that whenever a new attorney general does take over, it shouldn’t take long to restore a sense of normalcy inside the office.
But fixing the public’s perception will be tougher, he said.
“The problem is, the people of Pennsylvania have been burned so often that the task of winning [them] back … will take a lot longer, if it can be done at all,” he said.
Voters will select a new attorney general in November.