Caught in a swirling controversy over her decision to drop a Philadelphia political corruption investigation, Attorney General Kathleen Kane should be eager to demonstrate her office’s muscle and restore public confidence.
It’s time for Kane to report on her findings from the investigation into the handling of the Jerry Sandusky case by the Attorney General’s Office.
Kane made the Sandusky case her lead platform when running for the office in 2012. Shortly after taking office in 2013, she launched a probe of the efforts by the Attorney General’s Office under her predecessors — now-Gov. Tom Corbett and Linda Kelly.
Attorney General’s Office spokeswoman Carolyn Myers on Friday said no information was yet available on the Sandusky matter.
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“I don’t have a timeline on that,” Myers said.
Kane and her team need a timetable for results on the Sandusky case, one that will hold up to political scrutiny.
For two weeks, she has been fighting the backlash from a case she decided not to pursue in Philadelphia.
A 2010 sting operation generated evidence that several lawmakers had accepted inappropriate gifts. The lawmakers were all black and, like Kane, Democrats.
That sting was launched while Corbett, a Republican, was attorney general. The man who led the operation for the Attorney General’s Public Corruption Unit was Frank Fina, who was also a key prosecutor in the Sandusky child sex abuse case that resulted in the former coach’s conviction in June 2012.
Philadelphia media reported that Kane believed the sting unfairly targeted black officials and only Democrats, and that it was ultimately not a case that could be won in court. Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico, a Republican, agreed with the decision not to pursue.
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams criticized Kane for the decision not to follow through and prosecute the case, and The Philadelphia Inquirer took her to task in editorials.
Kane responded by taking an attorney to a meeting with the Inquirer’s editorial board, and claimed critics were attempting to damage her reputation.
The stormy times continued this past Monday, when her communications chief, Joseph Peters, left his post abruptly.
When she met with the Centre Daily Times in July, Kane pledged to pursue the Sandusky investigation to its conclusion, and to make the findings public.
She has suggested Corbett delayed his initial Sandusky investigation while he ran for governor.
She can’t let politics influence or delay her own probe.
Corbett has a Republican challenger in May, and five Democrats are battling to oppose him in the fall.
Making information available in April could be meaningful for GOP voters in the primary.
An early summer report of findings would allow voters to go to the polls in November armed with important information, but wouldn’t fall so close to election day as to be seen as a direct attempt to alter the outcome along party lines.
And if Kane’s investigation finds no fault in Corbett’s work, then voters should know that, too.
We supported Kane’s decision more than a year ago to re-examine the Sandusky case, and we still do.
There’s a timeliness factor for voters across the state as they prepare to choose from among Corbett and his numerous challengers.
And our community has been waiting long enough for answers concerning what the governor knew, and when, and whether Corbett pursued his political aspirations ahead of justice.