ELECTION 2012: Answers appear scarce in attorney general race
Three candidates are running for Pennsylvania attorney general, one of the most important positions in state government, but answers on how they would manage that office are scarce.
Despite multiple calls and emails, neither Kane nor Rogers responded to requests for an interview.
Kane spent 12 years as an assistant district attorney in the Lackawanna County District Attorney's office before leaving in 2007 to work on the presidential campaign of now-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Rogers has been an attorney in private practice for the past 12 years, formerly a department head for paralegal studies with the Academy of Medical Arts and Business from 1989-2000, now known as Keystone Technical Institute, and was the director of York City Human Relations Commission from 1985-89.
Freed agreed to the Business Journal's interview but did not say what specific areas of law he would aggressively pursue as attorney general, if elected. He said he would be an active attorney general, but not an activist.
"What statute of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania has been violated, and how has it harmed the citizens?" Freed said. "Those are really the key questions to determining whether the attorney general can move forward."
Freed has been the district attorney of Cumberland County since 2006 and before that was an assistant DA for the county going back to 1998. He was a York County deputy prosecutor from 1997-98.
At times, he said, the attorney general has an obligation to review law and policy at the state and federal levels to determine whether they are consistent with Pennsylvania laws and constitution and to challenge federal laws where they are believed to overstep constitutional authority. He noted Pennsylvania's challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which the Supreme Court upheld as constitutional earlier this year.
"At times, it's the attorney general's job to push back against unfair federal regulation. … I see that as an important duty if that were to come up," Freed said.
Freed was less aggressive in his response when it comes to environmental and financial issues that have seen controversies in recent years, including the subprime mortgage collapse that sank the economy in 2008 and negative impacts of gas and mining operations on water resources for local communities.
"We need to make sure we're doing everything according to the law and make sure it's done safely and responsibility, but that doesn't mean we can't take advantage of an opportunity," Freed said, referring to Marcellus Shale gas drilling, which has been expanding fast in Pennsylvania.
Freed has accepted more than $69,000 from gas companies and affiliated political action committees, according to published reports. He said contributions don't give companies or groups a free pass if they violate the law.
Kane received the majority of her $2.4 million in campaign contributions — more than $2.2 million — from her husband Christopher Kane, an executive with the family's trucking and logistics firm, best known as Kane is Able. Other contributions came from family, friends, law firms, Democratic committees and unions, according to Votesmart.org.
Kane has said on her website that environmental law would be a key part of her office's duties in conjunction with the auditor general and state Department of Environmental Protection.
No campaign contribution records exist with Votesmart or with the state for Rogers for the 2012 election.
"What you have to do is follow the law without the fear or favor," Freed said.
Candidates for state attorney general
Republican David Freed is originally from Camp Hill and has been the district attorney of Cumberland County since 2006. From 1998 to 2006, he was an assistant DA for the county. He was also a York County deputy prosecutor from 1997-98. He received his bachelor's degree from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., and received his law degree from Dickinson School of Law. Freed lives in Camp Hill with his wife, Amy, and their three children.
Democrat Kathleen Kane spent 12 years as an assistant district attorney in the Lackawanna County District Attorney's office before leaving in 2007 to work on the presidential campaign of now-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Originally from Scranton, Kane graduated from the University of Scranton and Temple University School of Law in Philadelphia. Her legal career began at the law firm Post & Schell in Philadelphia. She lives in Clarks Summit, Lackawanna County, with her husband, Chris, and two sons.
Libertarian Marakay Rogers has been an attorney in private practice for 12 years. She was a department head for paralegal studies with the Academy of Medical Arts and Business from 1989-2000, now known as Keystone Technical Institute. Rogers was the director of York City Human Relations Commission from 1985-89. She received her bachelor's degree from Wilson College in Chambersburg and her law degree from Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle. She lives in York.