The Jerry Sandusky convictions and the Bonusgate Capitol corruption cases in which 22 former Democratic and Republican state officials were convicted or pleaded guilty to using public resources and employees illegally have taught Pennsylvanians many lessons.
One of those is the importance of the attorney general, the state’s chief law enforcement officer. This year, Republican David Freed is running against Democrat Kathleen Kane for attorney general.
Both are well-qualified. Freed has spent 15 years as a prosecutor. For the past six years, he’s been the elected district attorney in Cumberland County as well as a leader in the statewide District Attorney Association that advocates for policy changes in the Legislature.
Kane also has frontline prosecuting experience. She was assistant district attorney in Lackawanna County for 12 years and served as chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Advisory Board. The Patriot-News endorses David Freed for attorney general because he brings a wider range of experience as a prosecutor and his nonpartisan approach to being smart and effective with criminal issues.
Freed’s knowledge of the issues showed in the debate Monday on the Pennsylvania Cable Network. One of the questions was whether an attorney general should personally try cases. Freed said it should be a rare instance.
“If I get elected attorney general, I’m going to have people working for me that are way better than I am,” he said.
It was a realistic answer that demonstrates Freed’s understanding of what it takes to run an 800-person office. The hottest political issue in this race is the Sandusky case. Freed has vowed to do a review.
As in all cases, he does not want to rush to judgment until he has a chance to take a look. While much of the media attention is on high-profile cases, the attorney general’s office is also involved in consumer protection, especially Internet crimes and scams targeting the elderly.
Freed has been a leader in these areas. He has worked on many cases involving power of attorney fraud, has spoken out to try to educate the public and has solid ideas on how to expand the AG office’s Internet crimes unit.
The Patriot-News also has been impressed with the efforts Freed has put into going after drug crimes in Cumberland County, the professional way he has handled murder trials and how open and responsive he has been with local media.
Having said that, this was not an easy decision for the editorial board. It is hard not to be impressed with Kane’s approach to the office and the sense that she would be an aggressive watchdog in general and with the Sandusky case in particular.
But having Freed in our backyard has given The Patriot-News a close look at how he conducts himself. He has gone after Republicans and Democrats and independents.
In short, he has kept a professional eye on prosecuting criminals, regardless of who they are or where they come from. We believe he will do the same as attorney general.