Wednesday, April 04, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2008, April 4th, 2012

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The hottest race in this other dull spring primary is the fight for the Democratic nomination for State Attorney General. Ads are running, counter charges are flying and this week the storied Scranton Times Political Column got into the fray with a recap of an incident regarding card check and the Kane campaign. Check this out.
Published: March 31, 2012
You might not have noticed so far, but former Lackawanna County Assistant District Attorney Kathleen Granahan Kane is in a heated battle for the Democratic attorney general nomination.
She's facing former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, the King's College graduate who represented a suburban Philadelphia district in Congress before he lost re-election two years ago.
This week, Mr. Murphy got the backing of the state AFL-CIO while President Bill Clinton backed Ms. Kane.
The endorsements overshadowed a largely background tussle.
It starts with Ms. Kane's campaign being largely financed - all but about $105,000 of its $2.4 million - by the Kane family, whose trucking and warehousing businesses are well known locally. (Disclosure: Times-Tribune publisher Bobby Lynett gave her $1,000 in February.)
Her husband, Christopher J. Kane, listed as chief strategy officer for the trucking arm, lent the campaign $1.75 million of that $2.4 million.
Over the years, the Kane family has been a big backer of local Democrats, most notably the late Gov. Robert P. Casey Sr., but also his son, Sen. Bob Casey; Mr. Casey's brother, Patrick, a two-time congressional candidate; former Rep. Chris Carney, former U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, and even Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O'Brien's campaign for Congress two years ago.
In the last six years, the Kane family contributors have included Ms. Kane, who listed herself either as a Kane Warehousing executive or attorney when she contributed.
The trouble for Ms. Kane is that Mr. Murphy is using the Kane company line on unions against her.
In an April 2009 newsletter, Harry Drajpuch, then Kane Is Able's chief operating officer, railed against the proposed Employee Free Choice Act, known as card check. Unions use support of card check as a litmus test for endorsing candidates. They want it because it makes unionizing a workplace far easier. Employers hate it for the same reason.
"The Employee Free Choice Act will make it easier for unions to 'represent' you, with all the corruption and associated union dues you'll be forced to pay," Mr. Drajpuch wrote.
In a July 2009 newsletter, Kane Is Able President and Chief Executive Officer Richard P. Kane said he was "convinced that being a non-union company best positions us to grow our business even in challenging times."
Fighting words. In a letter to members, Pennsylvania Teamsters President William Hamilton called Ms. Kane "a rogue Democrat" whose "anti-worker" company threatens workers who "even discuss joining a union."
The Kane campaign has shot back by pointing out that Kane employes 1,200 people and is a big success and that Mr. Murphy is a lawyer for a Philadelphia law firm, Fox Rothschild, that touts its ability to "design and implement union avoidance programs." Nat Binns, a spokesman for Mr. Murphy, said that's not Mr. Murphy's position and is hardly the same as taking all that money from an anti-union company.
Mr. Binns dismissed the fact that most of Ms. Kane's money comes from her family, though a family contributing to one of its members' political campaigns seems like something a family would do. Mr. Binns said that much backing from "one company, one interest is almost unprecedented."
Tuesday, things got more complicated. As a guest on a live call-in program on the Pennsylvania Cable Network, she had an exchange with a caller.
Ms. Kane: "So, Pat, your question is, am I a supporter of card check?"
PCN host: "He's not on the line, but that sounds like his question."
Ms. Kane: "That sounds like your question. I am not a supporter."
She went on to say her father was a Teamster who eventually worked his way up to president of his AFSCME local, and her brother was a Teamster and now a teachers union member.
"There's a lot of misinformation ... out there," she said. "But I have my career, I have my views, and my views are that unions have the right to organize. They have the right to collective bargaining. I support union membership if they so choose, and I believe that it's an important part of our society."
Friday, her campaign issued a statement saying she's proud of her husband's success and she's "pro-union because it's in my blood and because I believe that America does best when it has a strong, growing middle class."
The statement also said she supports the Employee Free Choice Act, and as attorney general would defend the right to organize unions. It was a contradiction of what she seemed to say on PCN.
Josh Morrow, Ms. Kane's spokesman, said Ms. Kane never finished the sentence "I am not a supporter" and claimed she never said she opposes card check.
"She does not definitively say that," Mr. Morrow said.
Mr. Binns called that "an outrageous lie."
"The video is very clear," he said.
BORYS KRAWCZENIUK, Times-Tribune politics reporter, writes this column.


At 6:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kane appears to be too harsh in her commercials. Reminds me of Michele Bachman. She needs a stgand-in for her TV work.


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