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Kane impeachment investigation wraps up post-conviction

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HARRISBURG, Pa. -- In front of a small panel of state lawmakers and a largely empty hearing room, the investigation into whether or not former Pennsylvania attorney general Kathleen Kane should face impeachment concluded Monday.

While Kane will likely avoid impeachment, according to Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery), he wants to make sure she never holds office again.

"It's about accountability," said Stephens, the head of the House subcommittee investigating Kane's possible impeachment. "The people of Pennsylvania foot the bill for the attorney general's office and they have the right to know how their money is spent, and for that matter, wasted."

The House subcommittee heard testimony on the damage Kane did to the attorney general's office during her nearly four-year term, as well as legislative ideas on how to improve the office.

Kane was found guilty of perjury, obstruction, and other crimes in August after a jury said she leaked confidential grand jury information to a newspaper, and then lying about it under oath. She was sentenced in October to 10 to 23 months in prison, a ruling currently under appeal.

"We want to make sure a future legislature can look back and say she will never serve office again," said Stephens.

Democrats on the House Judiciary committee questioned why the impeachment investigation was still taking place. Only around a quarter of the 27-member, bipartisan panel sat in on Monday's hearing, including one Democrat, Rep. Bryan Barbin of Cambria County.

Among those not in attendance were judiciary minority chairman Rep. Joe Petrarca (D-Erie), who told FOX43 in a phone interview he felt the investigation into Kane should have ceased after her conviction in August.

"To me it did not make sense to go through the time and expense when Attorney General Kane left office," Petrarca said. "We have an attorney general charged, tried, convicted and sentenced. It's time to move on."

Stephens said the investigation, which began in February and ended with Monday's hearing, cost around $35,000. It was delayed multiple times, he said, to avoid any meetings, hearings, or the release of the final report as the committee did not want to influence her trial, sentencing hearing, or the recent election.

Among those who testified Monday was current attorney general Bruce Beemer. He was asked if the state legislature should pass a law which would require any future attorney general to hold a law license while occupying the office. Beemer said he would recommend that.

Kane had her law license suspended by the state Supreme Court after she was charged with her crimes, but she continued to run the attorney general's office without one.

The Pennsylvania Senate unsuccessfully attempted to forcibly remove her from office in February.

Josh Shapiro, a Democrat from Montgomery County, will serve as Pennsylvania's next attorney general after winning the statewide election.