Questioning Kane's porn war

John Baer asks: Is Kathleen Kane using porn war as a weapon amid her own legal troubles?

OH, KATHLEEN.

I so wanted not to write about you.

I haven't since September, and was hoping to get through the holiday season with Kaneless columns.

Your sorry saga of porn, politics and perjury is so repetitive, convoluted and constantly reported that when it comes to you - as my colleague/pal Dave Davies of WHYY says - I want to file a "right-not-to-know request."

Ah, but now you're escalating your war on porn, and tomorrow you plan to open up a can of whoop-ass on the world of men using public servers to watch, receive or trade it.

You say that "every public email account" trafficking "filth" will be pursued by a new team of your handpicked prosecutors.

How can one not comment on such a pornocopian sweep?

Will it snag emails of state lawmakers even as they prepare to oust you from office and seek their own re-election? Imagine what smut might surface there.

The governor's office? State agencies? All the courts?

Once done with Pennsylvania, do we start scrubbing Jersey? How about D.C.? That'd bear fruit. Libidinous leaders in France and Italy? They have reputations.

And, look, I get it. Although your new effort seems a huge time-and-resource-consuming project, who doesn't want to see more porn and the names of lawyers, prosecutors, judges and others out there enjoying it on our dime?

Your timing might raise eyebrows. I mean, you announce this expansion the same day the state Senate decides to pursue yet another avenue to remove you?

Sorta gives the term "revenge porn" new meaning, no?

And the selective drip-drip of new porn and new names over time suggests that your interest isn't as much disclosure and transparency as it is using porn as ammo.

That's your pattern. When fired on, you fire back. When faced with going down, you look to take others with you.

Hell hath no fury like a woman porned.

So now, facing a criminal trial, possible impeachment, legal fights over running your office without a law license and possible removal through a Senate vote, you vow to "track down every public server" pornified with racist, misogynistic, homophobic and religiously offensive emails.

Understandable: When at war, you use whatever weapons you have.

Porn is central to your argument that you've been pursued and prosecuted solely because you found the boys' naughty bits while reviewing their handling of the Sandusky case, so you need to keep it out there.

And the porn emails in question are troubling. They imply attitudes antithetical to justice. They demonstrate too-cozy relationships between and among judges and prosecutors. They suggest a certain "we-do-what-we-want" arrogance of power by high-ranking public officials - and/or profound stupidity for doing what they want on public servers.

But here's the thing:

Your tenure as the state's top law-enforcement officer is marked mostly by missteps, misstatements and political ineptitude, which combined led to your criminal indictment and suspended law license.

This does not translate into confidence in your ability or, frankly, your office's ability to investigate anything fairly or proficiently even if courts say you can run the place sans license.

This feels too much about you.

And the public isn't well-served by public officials fighting personal battles to cling to power or to clear their names.

By all means, Madam General, you're presumed innocent and entitled to fair hearing on all legal issues related to keeping and running your office.

By all means, special prosecutors should look at all aspects of this sordid story, including, if warranted, expanded investigations.

But your credibility on this porn-war stuff is blocked by a veil of vengeance and ranges from suspect to nonexistent.

For the sake of public trust in justice, someone unconnected to (and unselected by) you or your agency needs to lead the fight.

Email: baerj@phillynews.com

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