Attorney General Kathleen Kane has taken the position the Senate Committee considering her removal is not legal, and has refused to answer questions it submitted to her in an Oct. 29 letter from its chairman, Sen. John Gordner, R-Columbia, reported The Morning Call.
Her refusal caused the Senate to issue a subpoena to compel answers, but staff loyal to Kane last week refused to accept the legal document. The Senate had to go to Kane's legal defense lawyer for help with the subpoena process.
Gordner's letter sought copies of all documents outlining how the office is operating following Kane's suspension, as well as communication Kane has sent to the staff since her law license suspension.
The committee is to submit by Nov. 25 a report to the full Senate on whether Kane is fit to remain in office. The report will include preliminary findings, as well as an outline of procedures the committee would follow if it elects to move to a second phase.
That phase would determine if "there is sufficient evidence that warrants notice and a hearing" to remove Kane, using Article 6, Section 7 of the Pennsylvania Constitution. The section is known as "Senate address," or "direct address." The Senate has not used the mechanism since the 1800s.
Aside from Gordner, the committee is comprised of Scarnati and Sens. Lisa Baker, R-Luzerne, Gene Yaw, R-Lycoming; Art Haywood, D-Montgomery; Judy Schwank, D-Berks; and Sean Wiley, D-Erie.
Under state law, the attorney general's office has multiple county jurisdiction to handle criminal and civil cases. The attorney general's office also can step in and handle a case at the request of a county prosecutor who believes he or she has a conflict of interest, does not have the resources to prosecute or other reasons.
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