AG who halted sting operation busting fellow Dems lawyers up

Kane
Photo credit: www.roxburynews.com

The Democratic Pennsylvania attorney general who shut down a sting operation that was only able to nab Democratic politicians now refuses to justify that decision and has lawyered up.

The sting, set into motion in 2010 by Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s predecessor, was designed to catch dishonest politicians in the act of accepting bribes in the form of cash and gifts.

Kane began shutting down the operation soon after she assumed office in 2013, and made it official on March 14. By that time, the investigation had reportedly yielded some 400 hours of audio and videotaped bribe offers to politicians. In a statement to the Philadelphia Inquirer, “Kane called the investigation poorly conceived, badly managed, and tainted by racism,” as the paper reported.

Rather than justify her decision, Kane chose to attack those who questioned it, according to the Inquirer:

In the statement, Kane provided only one quote, dismissing those who questioned her decisions as “nothing more than the Good Ol’ Boys club playing political games to discredit me in order to fulfill their own selfish and improper agenda.”

The Inquirer continued to pursue its own investigation of Kane’s decision to drop an operation that had successfully caught local politicians and at least four state lawmakers, all accepting bribes from a lobbyist.

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But rather than cooperate directly with the press, the attorney general chose to hire her own attorney to speak on her behalf. The Inquirer reported:

During the meeting, Sprague [Kane’s new lawyer] suggested that The Inquirer may have been used by the sources of its stories – “wittingly or unwittingly” as a “weapon” to attack Kane to defend themselves from potential charges of wrongdoing in the management of the probe.

But that’s not the half of it. Kane’s lawyer even hinted legal action against the Inquirer if it continued its efforts to get at the truth.

“I intend to look at the investigation from the very beginning to the conclusion of it, and in terms of what has been published, by this paper and others, to take appropriate action on behalf of the attorney general against those responsible for the defamatory and the false publications that have been made,” Sprague told the Inquirer.

The paper isn’t about to take this lying down. The primary purpose of a free and independent press is to be a watchdog to government.

“Our lead reporters, Angela Couloumbis and Craig McCoy, have interviewed many people with in-depth knowledge of the investigation, including members of Attorney General Kane’s staff, in order to ensure that the stories are accurate, thorough, and fair,” the Inquirer’s editor, William K. Marimow said. “These stories are the product of months of diligent and dogged reporting – not a leak from a person with a political agenda. In my opinion, this is precisely the kind of issue that requires public scrutiny, specifically the conduct of public officials who accepted cash or gifts from an undercover agent and the quality of a three-year investigation launched and ended by a state law enforcement agency.”

H/T Hot Air

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