Kane Divorce Raising Questions

State AG Kathleen Kane is in trouble.  Not just from Seth Williams, the Philly DA is called her out as a liar or that investigation into whether her office revealed secret grand jury testimony.  Yes, she might get indicted for that one but her filing for divorce last week raises some interesting questions.  Her campaign still owes her husband $1,700,000 according to her 2013 year end campaign finance report.  She hasn’t filed any reports this year so it’s obvious she hasn’t paid him off yet.  That would have generated a new report.

So what happens to her stated plans to run for re-election.  Forget for a minute that she’s dead candidate walking.  How viable is she as a potential candidate?  Her ex can very possibly bankrupt her campaign committee with a simple lawsuit for repayment.  She didn’t raise any funds this year and has about $592,000 cash on hand according that year old campaign finance report.  Since she hasn’t filed a report since then this means her committee hasn’t raised or disbursed any funds.  Her 2014 year end report should reflect this if she’s following the law (a big if with this official).

So how does she run for re-election with no money?

How does anyone in their right mind contribute to her campaign knowing they’re really just sending money to her ex?

Is anyone still willing to contribute to her efforts after all this bad publicity?

How many opponents are waiting to pounce knowing she’s politically crippled?

There’s no such thing as an amicable divorce.  The fact Chris Kane doesn’t have an attorney makes me think she blindsided him with this lawsuit.  If I’m him the second thing I do is hire a civil litigator and go after my money.  That bankrupts her campaign.

Questions, questions.

Kane Isn’t Able

Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s political career is dead.  The once rising star made a major miscalculation when she revealed an undercover sting operation begun by her predecessor would not lead to further action by her team.  She called it a failed investigation fraught with racism and said it was unprosecutable.  Philadelphia DA Seth Williams took that failed case and has already indicted two of its targets and has a grand jury investigating more.  State Representatives Vanessa Lowery Brown and Ronald Waters are currently facing the music.  So much for a case which was unprosecutable.

As if this isn’t enough she had to testify before a grand jury investigating leaks from her office about secret grand jury testimony which her office made public.  Then Williams revealed that numerous statements she made publicly about the investigation she dropped were lies.  Not that this surprised me because I outed her as a liar in the Democratic primary election when she ran for this office.  I hate to say this but I told you so.

Kane Voids Lottery Privatization

Attorney General Kathleen Kane voided Gov. Gasbag’s contract with Camelot Global Services.  The effort to privatize the lottery bypassed both the legislature and the Gaming Control Commission and as such was declared unconstitutional.  The AG by law had to sign off on the deal and she decided she could not do so.

Corbett Tries Stealing Penn State Narrative

Gov. Tom Corbett announced yesterday he, as Governor, is suing the NCAA for its sanctions against the Penn State football program and the University.  With questionable and shaky legal standing, the suit alleges antitrust violations in the manner in which the collegiate athletic association chose to impose draconian sanctions against a program which it acknowledged did no wrong, broke no NCAA rules.

Legal experts question the Governor’s legal standing to file such a lawsuit.  Current Attorney General Linda Kelly abdicated her job and delegated to the Governor’s Office the authority to file this suit.  Why didn’t the state Attorney General just file it?  Politics.  Gov. Gasbag, watching steadily dreary poll numbers largely driven by his ill advised involvement in firing legendary coach Joe Paterno, desperately needs to reverse course, he has to initiate a cut back tot he open field before his re-election is doomed to the locker room.  

Incoming AG Kathleen Kane ran on a platform of investigating Corbett’s role in the three year investigation of Jerry Sandusky and wants to discover if he dragged his feet allowing a serial child molester to remain on the street because he didn’t want unfortunate political blowback while running for Governor.  Corbett then led the Board of Trustees decision to fire JoePa making him one of the evil tyrants in the story to Penn State football fans.  There are a few of them in the Commonwealth and the Guv stands no chance of re-election unless he does some serious damage control.  This lawsuit is driven completely by politics and not by law.  It is likely to be dismissed before November 2014 making him look even more desperate  I predict a sack for loss or worse, a blocked kick for an opposition touchdown.

David Freed’s Conflict of Interest

Leroy Zimmerman is being investigated for his misconduct as Chair of the Hershey Trust.  Milton S. Hershey, founder of Hershey Foods, created the trust to insure his financial fortune would be used to fund the Milton Hershey School for orphans.  The Trust invested in a golf course and overpaid by millions.  They wasted multiple millions in the failure which should have been used, as directed by the will and the Trust by laws, for the school.  $17 million was expended to purchase the wren Dale Golf Course (which was failing) and to build a clubhouse.   The price was inflated by two or three times its appraisal.  One of the investors in the failed operation was Hershey Company President Richard Lenny.

Leroy Zimmerman made millions as Chair of the Board of The Hershey Trust.  He is David Freed’s father-in-law.

How will Attorney General David Freed escape the obvious conflict of interest as The Hershey Trust’s activities, managed by his father-in-law are investigated and prosecuted?

Attorney General Endorsement: Patrick Murphy

I began this primary for Attorney General not having a preference.  I’ve known Patrick Murphy for a number of years and I though Kathleen Kane’s experience as a local prosecutor was impressive.  I soon discovered Kane is a pathological liar and I cannot support her for office.  Murphy, on the other hand, is a Bronze Star recipient for his work as an Army JAG officer in Iraq where he prosecuted terrorists trying to kill our soldiers, served in Congress where he led the fight to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and was one of the first Members of Congress to endorse Barack Obama.

Kane, on the other hand, is married to the owner of trucking firm Kane Is Able, a fervently anti-union company which exploits its workers.  She should be a Republican with that track record and is worthless as a candidate for statewide office as a Democrat.  She simply won’t win crap with all of organized labor against her.  Worse, her campaign lied to me, disparaged Murphy’s military service to me then lied about it all on PCN.  She isn’t fit to deliver my newspaper.

The next Attorney General must be a counterweight to the blatantly unconstitutional laws being signed by Tom Corbett.  Before being Governor he used the AG office for political prosecutions in a way that politicized the office.  He used it as a platform to get the Governor’s Mansion and corrupted it in the process.  While he pursued high profile trials he allowed the Sandusky investigation to linger on the vine while children were at risk.  We need a prosecutor who will return integrity to the office and Patrick Murphy is the person for the job.

Veterans Call For Kane Apology

VoteVets PAC called on Kathleen Kane to apologize to Pennsylvania veterans for her campaign’s attacks on his military service record.  On a press conference call today Jon Soltz, AJ Gales, a Pennsylvania vet and Ashwin Madia, who served in Iraq with Patrick Murphy, talked about how attacking someone’s distinguished military record is an insult to all those who served.  Madia spoke about how he drove JAG officer Murhpy to court in Iraq where they risked their lives every time they did so.

Kane campaign Communications Director Joshua Morrow attacked the former Congressman’s military record in a telephone call to me March 5th.  When I questioned the wisdom of going after a war veteran and how that would alienate vets he did so anyway.  Morrow said Murphy couldn’t have prosecuted terrorists but his Bronze Star commendation goes into detail about exactly such prosecutions.  Kane went on PCN last week and denied that her campaign had made such attacks.   Kane also owes me a public apology.

I’m beginning to think she is a pathological liar.  Now she’s also denying having said, on that same show, she was against Card Check, the Employee Free Choice Act.  She claims not to be anti-union (though the family company bankrolling her campaign is) because her father was a union member.  Well my father was a John Birch Society conspiracy theorist and arch conservative but that didn’t make me one any more than her Dad being a union member makes her pro labor.

Murphy Attacks Kane As Anti-Worker

Patrick Murphy’s campaign for Attorney General went after foe Kathleen Kane today for being anti-worker and anti-union.  Basing their argument around her company Kane Is Able they claim 98% of her campaign funds have come from the firm which is anti-union:

Kane and executives from her corporation, Kane is Able, where she served as an executive (according to Federal Election Commission reports), have put $2.3 million into the race for Attorney General. Just to be clear, that accounts for more than 98 percent of her campaign funds. At the same time, Kane is Able has consistently and adamantly opposed the right of workers to organize.

As the Pennsylvania Conference of Teamsters pointed out in a recent letter, “Kane is Able has refused to pay their workers a living wage or improve safety conditions, creating a culture where workers fear to lose their jobs if they even discuss joining a union.” (letter attached)

Now, Kane is trying to buy this election with millions in profits from a fiercely anti-union company.

The company’s disdain for organized labor is well documented by the company itself. In a series of 2009 newsletters, Kane executives call labor unions unnecessary, corrupt, and bad for business. (As of last week these newsletters can no longer be found on the company website, but PDF copies are attached)

In July 2009, Kane is Able CEO Richard Kane talks about the importance of customer service and says:

   “I strongly believe that these values thrive in a non-union company. I am convinced that being a non-union company best positions us to grow our business even in challenging times.”

In the April 2009 newsletter, Kane Chief Operating Officer Harry Drajpuch criticized legislation that would make it easier for workers to organize and called unions corrupt:

   “The Employee Free Choice Act will make it easier for unions to ‘represent’ you, with all the corruption and associated union dues you’ll be forced to pay.”

Given this disgraceful history of union bashing by her corporation, Kathleen Kane has some important questions to answer:

   Does Kane agree that unions are unnecessary, that allowing workers to organize for better wages is a threat to corporate welfare, and that organized labor is corrupt, as her fellow Kane executives have charged? If not, when will she demand a public apology on behalf of Pennsylvania’s working families?

   If she believes in the right of workers to organize, what specifically did she do as an executive to ensure that Kane employees could exercise their Constitutionally protected right to form a union?

   If Kane says she believes in the right of workers to organize, when will she openly insist that the executives of her corporation publicly invite labor leaders to meet with their employees?

   Does Kane support the Employee Free Choice Act?

   Does she agree with former Kane COO Harry Drajpuch that unions are corrupt or does she believe that Drajpuch was trying to scare employees?

The truth is that Kane has no good answers. Even if she disagrees with her corporation’s open hostility toward their workers’ right to organize, her campaign is entirely beholden to the corporation and their wealthy interests.

Candidate Kane’s rhetoric doesn’t match Executive Kane’s record. Working families in Pennsylvania need to trust that their Attorney General will fight for them, not just for the very wealthy.

Kane has attacked Murphy implying that because he passed the Bar in Minnesota and worked as a prosecutor in the Navy he isn’t qualified to be AG.  Being labeled as anti-union in a Democratic primary isn’t good.

Update:  The Kane campaign responded yesterday:

STATEMENT OF KATHLEEN KANE, DEMOCRAT FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL

“I won’t be discussing Congressman Murphy’s spouse during this campaign and I’m disappointed that he’s decided to take a different, much more negative approach.

“I’m proud of my husband. His business is a real Pennsylvania success story that employs 1,200 people, but I have no intention during this campaign in discussing his business instead of my record as a prosecutor.

I married my husband because I love him, not because of the success of his company. I grew up in a working class family, the daughter of the President of AFSCME Local 2584.  I’m pro-union because it’s in my blood and because I believe that America does best when it has a strong, growing middle class.  I support the Employee Free Choice Act and as Attorney General, I will vigilantly defend people’s right to organize.

“Congressman Murphy’s attack is particularly hypocritical given that his law partners at Fox Rothschild boast on their website that they “design and implement union avoidance programs.”  

“Instead of focusing on our spouses, I suspect Pennsylvania Democrats are more interested in our positions on the issues. For example, perhaps Congressman Murphy would like to explain why he sponsored NRA-backed legislation to overturn a ban on deadly assault weapons in Washington DC?”

We thank the Kane campaign for its response.  I checked the link and Murphy’s law firm does boast about its “union avoidance programs” plus says this:  “maintain a pro-employee working environment, which minimizes the risk of a successful union organization drive.”

Update:  Joshua Morrow of the Kathleen Kane campaign contacted me today to insist I print a retraction of a claim made by the Murphy campaign above.  He insisted that Kane was never an executive at Kane Is Able and that the Murphy campaign statement is false.  You can see here it is entirely accurate.  Here is the Murphy statement:

Kane and executives from her corporation, Kane is Able, where she served as an executive (according to Federal Election Commission reports), have put $2.3 million into the race for Attorney General.

Here is the information publicly available with a Google search which took me ten seconds to find:

KATHLEEN G KANE (KANE IS ABLE, INC/EXECUTIVE), (Zip code: 18411) $1600 to BOB CASEY FOR SENATE INC on 02/01/11

KATHLEEN G KANE (KANE IS ABLE, INC./EXECUTIVE), (Zip code: 18411) $900 to BOB CASEY FOR SENATE INC on 02/01/11

She made campaign contributions to federal campaigns listing her occupation as an executive with Kane Is Able.  Providing false information would be a federal crime.  Here, again, she is listed giving money to Bob Casey For Senate Inc.

Mr. Morrow made some veiled threats that I’d be sorry if I didn’t retract my article with the Murphy allegations.  The statement is TRUE and it leaves me wondering about Ms. Kane’s integrity.  Up to today I have been neutral in this primary race feeling both candidates were qualified and would be good Attorney Generals.  Now I’m wondering about that after my telephone conversation with the Kane campaign.

Morrow made several speculative attacks against Patrick Murphy claiming he took the bar exam in Minnesota because it is easier than Pennsylvania’s (and was, thereby skating through) and that he never prosecuted terrorists because of inexperience in the JAG Corps.  I asked him for proof and he had none.

Let’s recap this entire story:



Murphy says Kathleen Kane was an executive at Kane Is Able based on forms she filled out for Bob Casey For Senate Inc.

The Kane campaign says that’s a lie.

I found the documentation online saying she did list herself as an executive with Kane Is Able, just as the Murphy campaign alleges.

The Kane campaign slams Murphy for speculating about her employment with the company and then speculates about his experience in the Army.

In doing so they imply he isn’t qualified to be a lawyer much less AG and denigrate the JAG corps.

I’m not sure I’m neutral any longer, Kathleen Kane isn’t fit to be anything if this is the sort of person she is.

How Did BonusGate Miss Caltagirone?

My battle with Rep. Thomas Caltagirone a few years ago was well covered by me on this blog when we were still hosted at Typepad.  The powerful Chair of the House Judiciary Committee didn’t like it when a progressive friend ran against him in the Democratic primary after he bolted the Party and voted for Republican John Perzel for Speaker.  I supported his opponent until he was forced to drop out of the race under employment pressure from Caltagirone.  Two years later a Reading City Councilman (Steve Fuhs) decided to challenge Caltagirone as a Republican until he mysteriously switched over and ran for the State Senate instead.  Its funny how no one ever runs against this guy.

Perhaps it is because he is so powerful he seemingly can do anything he pleases without fear of repercussions.  Even during the height of BonusGate Tom Caltagirone was using his state legislative office in Reading for political purposes.  I know because I was there.  One morning after I had disclosed he’d given then AG candidate Tom Corbett a $500 campaign contribution he came after me at a Berks County Democratic Committee meeting.  He had them pass a resolution pledging to sue me.  By the way I’m still waiting either get sued or see that repealed.

This launched an epic battle between us until 2008 when I got from him early one morning.  Gov. Rendell had just appointed him to Chair the Berks County campaign for Hillary Clinton and the guy needed advice on FEC rules and regulations.  He hired me to advise him and I did.  All of our discussions occurred in his state office on Penn Street.  I observed Hillary for President signs there and we had regular meetings there about finding and securing office space.  These went on for several weeks.  When we finally signed a lease (in his office) I had to remind him we needed to go downstairs to discuss all campaign business.

How did Attorney General Tom Corbett, in his exhaustive investigation of other Democrats for using state resources for political purposes, miss Caltagirone?  Was he afraid to go after someone who’d contributed to his own campaign?