Posts Tagged kathleen kane

This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: T-R’s Brad Bumsted Updates the Kane Case

Radio Program Schedule for the week of September 5, 2015 – September 11, 2015

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm has news headlines from
  • Lowman Henry talks with Brad Bumsted of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review for an update on the Kathleen Kane case
  • Joe Geiger from the First Nonprofit Foundation has Dr. Michael Hanes of the Whittaker Center in the Community Benefit Spotlight
  • Beth Anne Mumford of Americans for Prosperity-PA has a Lincoln Radio Journal commentary on corruption at the PA Liquor Control Board

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Lance Lemmonds from the Coalition for Public Safety about a new conservative approach to criminal justice reform
  • Doug Sachtleben of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on the record of Ohio Governor John Kasich
  • Eric Boehm is joined by Jason Hart for a Watchdog Radio Report on efforts to pass a Right-to-Work law in Missouri
  • Dr. Paul Kengor from the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College has an American Radio Journal commentary on the intolerance of the Left

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

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Cauldron of Corruption

Bribery, mail fraud, racketeering, criminal conspiracy, official repression, conspiracy to commit bribery, money laundering, bank fraud, wire fraud, obstructing the administration of law – these are just some of the charges filed against Pennsylvania Democratic elected officials in recent days.  It is clear the Democratic Party in Pennsylvania has a corruption problem.  It is big.  It is deep. And it is going to get worse before it gets better.

Allegations of corruption extend from the national level, with the New York Post reporting presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton is the target of a federal criminal investigation; to the state level where Attorney General Kathleen Kane has now been indicted on criminal charges; to the local level where officials in Reading and Allentown are ensnared in an investigation which has already resulted in one guilty plea.

The Democrats’ cauldron of corruption boiled over in recent days with the indictment of Philadelphia congressman Chaka Fattah on a variety of federal charges, the long expected Kane indictment, a guilty plea entered by the President of the Reading City Council, all of this amid reports the Democratic State Committee belatedly cut ties with a political consultant who is a central figure in the Allentown/Reading investigation.

Although details remain sketchy, it would appear the federal investigation into corruption in Allentown and Reading are tied to the case against former state treasurer Rob McCord who stepped down earlier this year and plead guilty to shaking down treasury vendors for campaign contributions.  Rumors continue to circulate in Harrisburg others may become snared in that trap as well.

Unlike past incidents of corruption, like Bonusgate and Computergate which resulted in the convictions of both Republicans and Democrats, the current tidal wave of wrong-doing is exclusively a Democratic affair.  With Governor Tom Wolf engaged in a budget stand-off, and statewide elections for a seat in the U.S. Senate and three constitutional offices on the ballot next year, Democrats face electoral Armageddon.

The immediate policy impact is on the state budget process where Wolf and legislative Republicans are at loggerheads weeks after the constitutional deadline for having a new spending plan in place.  The governor is fighting for a historic increase in both taxes and spending; the GOP refuses to comply.  Unlike past budget battles, the current stalemate has attracted little public attention and thus no pressure on either side to cave.

Governor Wolf already has the tough sale of building support to raise taxes on virtually every Pennsylvanian.  But, with his party mired in wave after wave of corruption, voters will be even less willing to entrust him with more of their tax dollars.  Although the indictments do not involve either Wolf or his administration, they cast all Democrats in a negative light giving Republicans another advantage in the budget stand-off.

As 2016 approaches the pervasive corruption in the Democratic Party will give Republicans a ready-made issue.  The position of Attorney General is on the ballot next year and the longer Kathleen Kane clings to power the greater becomes the GOP’s chances of reclaiming an office it has traditionally held.  Even though the Democratic nominee is likely going to be someone other than Kane, he or she will be handicapped by Kane’s corruption.  State Treasurer is also on the ballot in 2016, with Rob McCord having left office in disgrace the advantage again will tilt to the eventual Republican nominee.

All of this, of course, will be affected by the national political climate.  Republicans will have to be competitive in Pennsylvania at the Presidential level for “row office” candidates to have a chance.  At this early stage, with all the controversy swirling around Hillary Clinton and a 17-person Republican primary, it is difficult to forecast what that dynamic might be next Fall.

This much is certain: Pennsylvania Democrats have the most serious and wide-ranging corruption problem since the days of the Milton Shapp Administration back in the 1970’s.  And that gave rise to the governorship of Dick Thornburgh and Republican governance in Harrisburg.  If the current drumbeat of corruption continues history may be about to repeat itself.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.  His e-mail address is

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.

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PA Dems Flounder on Shoals of Corruption

There are two ways to remove a Band-Aid; in one sharp motion getting the pain over quickly, or pulling it off slowly allowing the pain to linger.  Democrats in Pennsylvania appear to subscribe to both approaches when it comes to dealing with the misdeeds of their statewide elected officials.


Former State Treasurer Rob McCord abruptly resigned from office in late January revealing he was going to plead guilty to charges that he attempted to extort campaign funds from companies interested in doing business with the state.  The crimes occurred while McCord was battling now-Governor Tom Wolf for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination last spring.


The McCord denouement came swiftly.  In a town that leaks like a sieve, there was surprisingly little advance rumor of the charges; news of which McCord broke himself.  The former treasurer spared the commonwealth the usual drama which surrounds such things by accepting responsibility for his actions and promptly leaving office.  He has now disappeared from the headlines.


And then there is the case of Kathleen Kane.  The term “embattled” is appended to virtually every news article written about the attorney general who is currently under investigation by the Montgomery County District Attorney for allegedly leaking secret grand jury information.  Charges have been recommended by that grand jury and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently ruled the process legal and correct.


Suffice it to say General Kane is in hot water.  As if that were not enough, news broke that she scuttled an investigation into a northeastern Pennsylvania casino probe.  And, the Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams has successfully prosecuted another investigation Kane dropped involving several Philadelphia legislators who allegedly took bribes.  This, along with a revolving door among her top staffers has produced an agency in crisis and an attorney general in political peril.


Unlike McCord, Kane is fighting back.  She has hired big guns associated with her political patrons, Bill and Hillary Clinton, refuses to resign and plans to fight any criminal charges which may be filed against her.

This could not be worse news for Pennsylvania Democrats.  The party can ill afford going into a major election year with the state’s highest elected law enforcement official under a cloud, or possibly under indictment.  Add in the McCord misfire, along with the Philadelphia legislator scandal, and what you have is the image of a political party steeped in corruption.

Already the steady stream of negative headlines is having an effect.  In just the last couple of weeks Democrats lost a special election for a legislative seat in Philadelphia, something that hasn’t happened in decades.  A Quinnipiac University poll shows Republican U.S. Senator Pat Toomey leading likely Democratic challenger Joe Sestak by double digits.  The poll even found U.S. Senator Rand Paul leading presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton by one point.  And, the poll was taken before Senator Paul’s official announcement of candidacy which likely will give him a further bounce.

Clearly the scandals surrounding Pennsylvania Democrats could have national implications.  Pat Toomey has been listed as one of the most vulnerable Republican senators up for re-election next year, if only because of the large Democratic voter registration lead in Pennsylvania.  But, to date, he has overcome that edge.  And, there is absolutely no plausible mathematical formula for Democrats to win the White House in 2016 without carrying Pennsylvania.

It remains to be seen whether or not Republicans will be able to take advantage of the culture of corruption surrounding state Democrats.  But one thing is for sure, the slow removal of the Kane Band-Aide ensures the issue will remain alive for the foreseeable future.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.  His e-mail address is


Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.

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This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Brad Bumsted Updates Kane Controversy

Radio Program Schedule for the week of March 21 – March 27, 2015

This week on American Radio Journal:

  •  Lowman Henry talks with Jim Phillips of the Heritage Foundation about the impact of the Israeli elections
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story behind the resignation of Congressman Aaron Schock
  • Eric Boehm and Tori Richards have a Watchdog Radio Report on how an employee got in trouble for reporting wrongdoing at a Louisiana Veterans Administration hospital
  • Dr. Paul Kengor from the Center for Vision and Values at Grove City College has an American Radio Journal commentary on the latest intolerance of the Left

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm has news headlines from
  • Lowman Henry talks with Brad Bumsted of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review about developments in the Kathleen Kane scandal
  • Joe Geiger from the First Nonprofit Foundation has Jenny Shifflet from the Sexual Assault Resources & Counseling Center in the Community Benefit Spotlight
  •  Beth Anne Mumford of Americans for Prosperity has a Lincoln Radio Journal commentary on Obamanomics coming to Pennsylvania

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

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Tampering with Transparency

Transparency has become a buzzword, one of those principles that politicians of all stripes pledge fealty to, but often in practice fall short.  For those who value the ability of We the People to know what is happening in our government, the past couple of weeks in Penn’s Woods have been bad ones.

For starters, the grand jury investigating whether Attorney General Kathleen Kane leaked confidential court information recommended the state’s Shield Law, upholding the right of journalists to keep confidential sources confidential, be changed to remove that protection when it relates to grand juries.

In a misguided effort to preserve the secrecy of such proceedings, the jurors placed blame for the leaks on the reporters writing the stories rather than on the individuals – including possibly the Attorney General – who actually leaked the information. Weakening a critical protection of journalistic freedoms is akin to blaming the escaped horse for the farmer having left the barn door open.

Shield laws are important because officials – elected, appointed and hired – who see to hide information from the public generally are willing to use the power of their position to harass, punish or otherwise frustrate the news media to prevent transparency from occurring.  Simply put, the ability to protect the confidentiality of sources makes it possible for journalists to do their job precisely at the time it is most important for them to do so.

The other hit to transparency came just days after Governor Tom Wolf took office when he attempted to fire the director of the state’s open records office.  Since its inception over six years ago, the Office of Open Records has become a vital tool for the media, watchdog groups, citizen activists and concerned voters to obtain information from governments at all levels that seek to deny access.

Although the state’s Open Records Law can and should be strengthened, it has brought about a higher level of transparency to government.  It is critically important for the independence of that office to be maintained, free from interference by both the executive and legislative branches of state government. That independence was honored by governors, Democrat and Republican, until now.

Former Governor Ed Rendell appointed Terry Mutchler as the first director of the Office of Open Records. The law states that executive directors shall be appointed for a six year term.  So, when Republican Governor Tom Corbett took office she continued in her job – actually past the six year mark as Corbett did not act immediately to name a replacement when her term expired.  That move came in early January during the waning days of his administration when Mutchler resigned and Corbett named Erik Arneson as the new executive director.  Arneson, a former state senate aide, played a key role in crafting the Open Records law making him eminently qualified for the job.

Within days of his inauguration, Governor Wolf, objecting to the timing of his predecessor’s action, fired Arneson.  Arneson’s dismissal triggered a firestorm of protest from senate Republican leaders who have correctly asserted that the job is not an “at will” position, but rather an appointment to a fixed term.  Arneson, claiming he could not be fired, showed up for work the next day as did the acting director appointed by Wolf.  A court battle now looms.

Setting aside the political stupidity of starting a turf war his first week in office, a lot more than a battle between a Democrat Governor and Republican Senate hangs in the balance.  If Governor Wolf succeeds in turning the Office of Open Records into a political fiefdom it will become impossible for it to fulfill its mission.  Above all, the Office of Open Records must remain free from political pressure.  How willing would an executive director who serves at the will of the governor be to grant open records requests which the administration wants to keep information hidden?

Candidate Tom Wolf ran for office promising a “fresh start.”  But by seeking to politicize the Office of Open Records, Governor Tom Wolf has fully embraced the worst aspects old fashioned politics.  There are many ways for a governor to confront a legislature, but tampering with transparency is a foolish way to begin.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.  His e-mail address is

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.

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This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: U.S. Senator Pat Toomey

Radio Program Schedule for the week of December 6 – December 12, 2014

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm has news headlines from
  • David Taylor from the PA Manufacturers Association and Matthew Brouillette of the Commonwealth Foundation discuss what the new Republican-controlled U.S. Senate means for Pennsylvania with U.S. Senator Patrick J. Toomey (R-PA)
  • Lowman Henry has a Town Hall Commentary on Attorney General Kathleen Kane

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Prashant Khetan from Cause of Action about the White House obtaining confidential taxpayer records from the IRS
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story behind how congress might deal with the impending fiscal cliff
  • Eric Boehm and Matt Kittle have a Watchdog Radio Report on states going to court over President Obama’s immigration executive order
  • Dr. Paul Kengor from the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College has an American Radio Journal commentary on why some governors may lead the 2016 presidential pack

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

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Kane is Not Able

Politics, the saying goes, is all about timing.

If that is so, State Representative Daryl Metcalfe was a man ahead of his time when last year he introduced a measure calling for the impeachment of state Attorney General Kathleen Kane.  Metcalfe based his call for the attorney general’s removal on her refusal to defend the state’s statute prohibiting same sex marriage.  The specific statute aside, defending existing state laws is a core duty for a state attorney general.  Failing to do so was indeed a dereliction.

Metcalfe’s efforts went nowhere, but a string of recent events have eroded confidence in the attorney general who has at a minimum engaged in bizarre behavior and verbal miscues and, at worse, may herself be a law-breaker for having potentially violated grand jury secrecy provisions.  Even the news media, which hailed her as the second coming of Barack Obama, has fallen out of love.  Many now question her ability to continue in office.

It is true most Pennsylvanians don’t wake up in the morning thinking about their attorney general.   Although it has risen above the other statewide constitutional offices (treasurer and auditor general) in profile, the attorney general is not generally subject to the same media scrutiny as governors and U.S. Senators.

But, since Pennsylvania attorneys general frequently try and sometimes succeed in achieving higher office, their performance is worth noting.  After her solid election victory in 2012 Kane herself was viewed as a rising star.  Like Ernie Preate, Mike Fisher and Tom Corbett before her she was expected to seek higher office. Now there are doubts she will even finish her current term.

For those who are unaware, the Office of Attorney General holds significant power.  The attorney general is not merely an elected paper pusher.  He or she is vested with sweeping investigatory power, including the ability to authorize wiretaps and to prosecute.  We task our attorneys general with everything from fighting illegal drugs to rooting out Medicaid fraud.  We trust them with overseeing our state’s charitable organizations, and count on them to work cooperatively with local police. This is a serious office conducting serious business.

But the evidence now reveals the current occupant is not up to the task.

Several weeks ago Attorney General Kane was injured when her official state car crashed into another vehicle.  Weeks went by before the media, and by extension the public, were made aware of the incident.   Interestingly, the timing was intertwined with an investigation into leaks of grand jury information in which the attorney general was expected to testify.  Such leaks are a crime, so if it is proven Kane was a party to them she likely would be compelled to leave office immediately.

Then there is the issue of competency.  After exploiting the Jerry Sandusky scandal for political advantage her office concluded then Attorney General Tom Corbett acted appropriately in conducting the investigation.  She declined to prosecute after a sting operation found several Philadelphia lawmakers allegedly taking bribes.  The Philadelphia District Attorney is now on the case.  Kane zigged and zagged on the e-mail porn scandal, ultimately claiming some of the e-mails contained borderline child pornography. Her office retracted that statement, but not before it made national news.  Kane and her office received yet another black eye when they cut a plea bargain with former Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission executives indicted under her predecessor.   They received no jail time for their misdeeds.

The question now is: what next?  If Kane is found to have leaked grand jury information she will clearly have to resign.  If she is exonerated there will be no criminal charge, but the state will be left with an attorney general who has failed to uphold state law, refused to follow-up on investigations, left corrupt government officials off easy, and has a penchant for mis-speaking.

The simple solution would be for her to resign and allow incoming governor Tom Wolf to appoint her successor.  That would take partisan politics out of the equation.  Or, she could limp through the next two years leaving it up to voters to decide whether or not to give her a second term.

Or perhaps, someone could place a call to Daryl Metcalfe.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.  He is a former executive assistant to the Attorney General of Pennsylvania.   His e-mail address is

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.

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