(HARRISBURG) – -The Special Committee on Senate Address has issued recommendations to the full Senate on whether the chamber should proceed to vote on the removal of Attorney General Kathleen Kane due to the suspension of her law license, according to the Committee Chair, Senator John R. Gordner (R-27).
Senator Gordner said the Committee issued four recommendations today:
- That the Senate not proceed with a removal vote until the Pennsylvania Supreme Court makes a determination it will not consider the Attorney General’s current Application for Extraordinary relief for restoration of her law license.
- That if the Supreme Court decides to consider the Attorney General’s Application, the Senate not proceed with a removal vote unless the Court rules against the Application.
- That the Senate should not proceed with a removal vote if the Court rules in favor of the Attorney General’s Application.
- That after fulfilling the due notice and full hearing requirements of the Pennsylvania Constitution, the Committee recommends the Senate vote on removal provided the conditions of the first two recommendations are met.
The Special Committee on Senate Address has been charged with determining whether Kathleen Kane can fulfill the legal duties of the office with an indefinitely suspended law license. It first conducted three public hearings to determine whether there was sufficient evidence to proceed with due notice to the Attorney General and a full hearing as required by the Constitution for removal of a civil officer.
The first hearing included a panel of Pennsylvania District Attorneys from counties of various populations. The second hearing consisted of a panel of independent legal and ethical experts, while the third hearing featured four current Deputy Attorneys General. All three panels expressed concerns that the duties of operation of the office of Attorney General involved the practice of law and would be compromised by an Attorney General prohibited from practicing law.
Senator Gordner said the three hearings featured credible witnesses that led the Special Committee to determine that due notice and a full hearing should be provided to Kathleen Kane. While the Attorney General did not appear before the Committee, both the current Office of Attorney General Chief of Staff and former Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell did testify before the panel.
Senator Gordner said these two witnesses lacked the credibility of the first three panels and offered contradictory testimony related to the ability of Kathleen Kane to supervise the office of Attorney General without a license to practice law. For example, the Chief of Staff could not testify whether the Attorney General was coming to work since he alleged he did not have access to Kathleen Kane’s daily schedule. Former Governor Rendell could not offer direct testimony regarding the function of the Attorney General’s office, however, he did offer the opinion that the Senate has the legal authority to proceed with direct removal.
“The Special Committee has done its job and has compiled a tremendous amount of testimony for the Senate to consider,” said Senator Gordner. “It is my opinion that there is sufficient evidence that Kathleen Kane cannot perform the duties of Attorney General with a suspended law license. I believe there should now be an opportunity for each and every Senator to review the comprehensive record and to vote on direct removal to settle this particular course of Constitutional action, in either a positive or negative way.”
Finally, Senator Gordner offered his thanks to the members of the Special Committee for their diligent work and bi-partisan efforts during the Committee’s hearings and deliberations.
A complete history of the Committee’s work, including all votes, reports, testimony and hearing videos may be found at www.senateaddress.pasen.gov
CONTACT: Todd B. Roup (717)787-8928