ICYMI: No Questions, Please: Kane

Lancaster New Era

Whether or not Pennsylvanians agree with state Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who rejected Gov. Tom Corbett’s plan to contract with a private firm to manage the state lottery, they should be concerned about Kane’s apparent reluctance to talk more openly about her first major action as the state’s top prosecutor.

On Thursday, Kane held a press conference to announce her decision to block the contract Corbett had signed with British-based Camelot Global Services PA.

With her office on the 16th floor of Strawberry Square in downtown Harrisburg as a backdrop, Kane read from a prepared statement, detailing why her office took the action it did.

The bottom line: The contract violates the state constitution and lacks authority under state lottery and gaming laws.

But when it came time to take questions from the gaggle of reporters who listened to her prepared remarks, Kane was silent.

A spokeswoman said reporters could submit questions in writing, which would be answered — not by Kane but by her office’s legal review section.

“We will respond in written form due to the complex legal issues involved,” the spokeswoman said.

We get that the issues are complex but, really, the attorney general — a lawyer, no less — should be on top of things enough to handle a few questions from the press.

Had Kane been asked a particularly difficult question or one that required more than a sound bite, she could have said so. “I’ll have to get back to you on that.” Simple.

Instead, she relied on the statement that she and her aides carefully composed. The only thing missing was a teleprompter, a la, Barack Obama.

Is this Kane’s attempt to control her message or manage the news? It’s a question worth asking.

If so, Kane isn’t the first politician to try — Harrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson and before her, Steve Reed, come to mind — with mixed results.

More than anything, attempts by politicians to manage the news breed suspicion among the press corps and, ultimately, the public.

Actually, we applaud Democrat Kane’s decision to reject the governor’s proposal — the New Era long has opposed expanded gambling in Pennsylvania, which the contract with a private company surely would mean.

But we’re disappointed that she chose to make the announcement of her decision at what was a lopsided press conference.

Kane has been in office for only a month, which may help to explain her reluctance to participate in a give-and-take with the media. But that’s a lame excuse.

Pennsylvanians deserve more from their attorney general.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/816409_No-questions–please–Kane.html