Pa. House members give Kane’s legal issues wide berth during budget hearing

     Pennsylvania Attorney General appears Tuesday before the state House Appropriations Committee. (Mary Wilson/WHYY)

    Pennsylvania Attorney General appears Tuesday before the state House Appropriations Committee. (Mary Wilson/WHYY)

    Attorney General Kathleen Kane was all about the budget when she arrived in front of Pennsylvania’s House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday, and lawmakers fired no questions her way about legal “bumps in the road” involving her office over the past year.

     

    The budget hearing came hours after Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams filed charges against two Democratic state representatives and one former representative for taking money or gifts from an undercover informant.

    The charges stemmed from a corruption sting that Kane had shut down, saying the case couldn’t be successfully prosecuted. Six current or former state officials have now been charged in the quashed sting.

    “No comment,” said Kane, when asked about the charges Tuesday. Williams had taken over the corruption case on a dare from Kane, and on Tuesday he called the attorney general “her own worst enemy.” Still, Kane didn’t bite.

    “I’ve been working on the budget all day,” Kane told reporters as she left the budget hearing.

    The revived corruption sting is not the only case dogging Kane’s office.

    On Wednesday, the state Supreme Court will consider whether a special prosecutor has legal standing to investigate allegations that Kane broke grand jury secrecy laws. Kane maintains that she shared no secret information, and is challenging the appointment of the special prosecutor, who has recommended that she be charged.

    But lawmakers on the House Appropriations panel weren’t interested in digging into those matters on Tuesday.

    “It’s not my intention to get into the substance of any of the legal matters and investigations that are involving you,” said Rep. Glen Grell, R-Cumberland. He went on to ask if any public funds would be used “in dealing with those investigations and actions.”

    “This is probably the quickest answer I’ve had all day,” Kane said. “None.”

    “OK,” said Grell.

    Rep. Mike Vereb, R-Montgomery, referred to the leak allegations and corruption sting as “a couple bumps in the road.”

    “You put aside Philly, you put aside this thing with the Supreme Court,” said Vereb, “I think you’re doing a great job.”

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