Kathleen Kane largely won the job as Pennsylvania attorney general by essentially promising to pick a fight with Gov. Tom Corbett over the handling of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal.
Now by rejecting a contract to turn management of the Pennsylvania Lottery over to a British firm, Democrat Kane has started another skirmish with the Republican governor. And it might work against her.
Corbett was attorney general in 2009 when his office began an investigation into allegations that Sandusky had sexually abused a Central Mountain School District boy, but charges weren’t filed until November 2011, months after Corbett was sworn in as governor.
Some have questioned the delay, but officials said it took years to gather enough evidence to build an overwhelming case against Sandusky, who was convicted in June of sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period.
Kane’s investigation in the Sandusky affair practically has Democrats salivating in anticipation of next year’s gubernatorial election.
But last week’s decision to reject a proposed contract for management of the state lottery might make Kane’s motives look more political, especially because she declined to answer reporters’ questions.
If Kane can’t face reporters, she shouldn’t be making decisions.
Corbett had signed a contract with London-based Camelot Global Services to manage the state lottery for the next 20 years. Camelot, which operates the United Kingdom’s lottery, had promised the state at least $34 billion in profits over two decades and had agreed to put up $250 million as a guarantee.
Corbett had argued that Camelot would generate more money to support programs for seniors than a state-managed lottery could.
The Attorney General’s Office must sign off on the form and legality of all state contracts.
Kane said she rejected the Camelot contract because it violated the state constitution, usurped the Legislature’s authority and would expand gambling beyond what legislators have authorized.
Kane’s decision brought a chorus of cheers from Democrats, which makes it seem like the decision might have been political.
And the attorney general didn’t do herself any favors by refusing to take reporters’ questions on her first big action.
Facing the media and explaining the reasoning behind decisions is a key job of any elected state leader. The fact that Kane ducked out doesn’t inspire confidence that her decision was well thought out and based solely on the law.
Those doubts could leave Pennsylvanians suspicious if Kane decides as is widely expected to go after Corbett over the length of time of the Sandusky investigation.
As attorney general, credibility is key. That person does not want to be seen as a party hack.
Kane is largely unknown to many Pennsylvanians and needs to establish herself as a legal authority who rises above partisanship to do what’s right for Pennsylvanians.
She whiffed on that by dodging questions on the lottery contract, and that didn’t leave a good first impression.”
(Editorial Board, “Ducking questions will hurt Kane,” The Altoona Mirror, 02/17/2013)