In 2012 Kathleen Kane won the state Attorney General’s race, the first Democrat to win the position since it became an elected office in 1980. Her Republican predecessors had created a Public Corruption Unit, which Frank Fina headed.
The Unit had conducted an undercover sting of five state legislators and as well as a judge accepting bribes. All of the corrupt officials were black and from Philadelphia.(See above, and pictured right, Reps Michelle Brownlee and Louise Bishop. )
After Kane took over, she dropped the investigation in 2013. This did not become public until 2014. When the Philadelphia Inquirer broke the story, Kane, who is white, responded by accusing her predecessors of “racism.” She released a statement claiming there was not a strong case and that the Unit issued orders to target "only members of the General Assembly's Black Caucus" and to ignore "potentially illegal acts by white members of the General Assembly". [Kane shut down sting that snared Phila. officials, by Angela Couloumbis and Craig R. McCoy, March 17, 2014]
Given that the Unit caught all the bribes on tape, it was hard to say the case wasn’t strong. So Kane doubled down on the race card. As the Inquirer reported, “while saying public corruption made her ‘sick,’ Kane said the sting was flawed and tainted by racism”. [Kane: Targets committed crimes but sting flawed, by Angela Couloumbis & Craig R. McCoy, March 19, 2014]
But Kane had problems making these charges stick. Her sharpest critic: Philadelphia’s District Attorney Seth Williams, who is black. To his credit, Williams has shown some backbone against the anti-white Left—for example, he opposed Obama’s nomination of Debo Adegbile to head the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division on the grounds that Adegbile did pro-bono work for Mumia Abu Jamal, who was convicted of (and never denied) murdering white police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981. [Toomey and Williams: The Justice Nominee and The Cop Killer, Wall Street Journal, By Pat Toomey And R. Seth Williams, February 24, 2014]
Eventually five of the six officials involved in the original investigation pled guilty, after initially screaming about racism. [Prosecutors say Kane lied about racial profiling in bribery case; accused lawmaker will resign, by Wallace McKelvey, Penn Live, December 16, 2015] However, it’s of particular note that, despite the fact that their corruption was widely known by the 2014 elections, they were all re-elected.
To discredit Fina, and to suggest her decision to end the investigation was not extraordinary, Kane also leaked sealed grand jury testimony that he had stalled an investigation of Philadelphia NAACP president J. Whyatt Mondesire for allegedly mishandling hundreds of thousands of dollars in city grants. Of course, this contradicted her other narrative that Fina was a racist who was specifically targeting black officials. Kane then lied under oath about the leak and instructed her subordinates to help cover up her perjury.
This is the extent of the actions that led to her conviction. She committed her initial crime, leaking the grand jury testimony, to obscure her political (but not illegal) decision to drop the investigation of black lawmakers. Then she got herself in more trouble by covering up that relatively minor crime.
However, if you read most news coverage of her resignation, you would think the scandal was about the lurid emails—the so-called “Porngate” scandal.
According to the Washington Post’s Amber Phillips, it "all started" when Kane "uncovered thousands of emails showing state officials trading pornographic, racist and misogynistic messages" when investigating the State's handling of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal [How racy emails and a grand jury leak brought down rising political star Kathleen Kane, August 16, 2016].
In particular there was
[A] photo of a pantsless woman on her knees performing oral sex on a man is captioned “Making your boss happy is your only job.” A picture of a white man fending off two African American men while carrying a bucket of fried chicken reads “BRAVERY At Its Finest.” The sender of the email that shows a group of men engaged in sex included this message to friends, “How friggin gay are you?”[PDF]Phillips notes that Fina had received and forwarded some of these e-mails. She then links to another Post story that includes quotes about how these e-mails represent “a swamp of misogyny, racism, homophobia and white privilege” [Pornographic email scandal roils Pennsylvania politics, by Natalie Pompilio, December 26, 2015]
But in reality, Kane never even brought up all these e-mails until she was in hot water over the grand jury leaks. Her lawyers portrayed her trouble as pushback for her noble crusade to break up a racist and misogynist “good old boys club.” But almost all observers recognized it for what it was: a threat of Mutually Assured Destruction against other government officials.
In large part because the supposed “good old boys” club didn’t exist, no-one protected Kane to save themselves. So she made good on her implied threats and managed to release many of the e-mails of leading dozens of officials, including Fina and a State Supreme Court Justice to resign [Frank Fina, prosecutor ensnared in Porngate, leaves Phila. D.A.'s Office, by Craig McCoy & Chris Palmer, Philadelphia Inquirer, June 9, 2016].
The Washington Post’s Phillips only got around to mentioning the racial angle of the grand jury leaks towards the end of her article, noting Kane “told the public by way of explanation that she thought the corruption case targeted African Americans and was poorly managed.” But this is better than most other MSM accounts, which didn’t mention the corrupt black legislators at all.
While Phillips and other journalists haven’t defended Kane’s conduct, they portray it in the context of a messy partisan fight. But although her scandal obviously had partisan implications, the fact that Fina was working for the black Democrat Seth Williams, who had been Kane’s most vocal critic, shows this was not what drove the initial scandal.
Kane’s prosecution ended up leading to the Porngate scandal, but this was a collateral issue to the actual case.
It’s truly amazing, and a comment on modern America, that a scandal stemming from the fact that the top law enforcement officer in the state covered up corruption by black officials ends up with stories about “a swamp of misogyny, racism, homophobia and white privilege” among government officials.
While there are exceptions like Seth Williams, the simple fact is that corruption is endemic among black officials in minority-controlled cities. And these corrupt officials can have a great influence within the Democratic Party. Kane was put in a position where she would either have to do her job as the State’s chief law enforcement officer or hide this corruption to protect her Party.
She chose the latter. But you’ll never know that by reading the MSM accounts of her downfall.
John Reid [email him] is an American citizen and a recent law school graduate.