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.