AG's Office Releases, Criticizes Long-Awaited Email Report

Nov 23, 2016

Interim Attorney General Bruce Beemer addressed journalists in the Capitol Tuesday. He inherited responsibility for the email report when he took over the AG's office following Kathleen Kane's resignation.
Credit Matt Rourke / AP

After a yearlong review of more than 6 million emails sent in and out of the state Attorney General’s office, interim AG Bruce Beemer said Tuesday that there’s no evidence any of the emails would have impacted the fairness of the justice system.

“There is no evidence that prosecutors engaged in improper communication or contact with judges in this commonwealth that have affected the administration of justice or the outcome of cases,” he said.

The investigation—undertaken by Washington D.C.-based firm BuckleySandler—was ordered by former AG Kathleen Kane, who’s now been convicted of federal perjury.

Beemer said he doesn’t think the review was ultimately in the commonwealth’s, or taxpayers’, best interest.

BuckleySandler’s original report was finished in August, and flagged nearly 12,000 emails as inappropriate.

Beemer, who took office at the end of that month, said it was clear that the report was “extremely over-inclusive.”

Among the emails flagged were one from “a Jewish employee sending a friend an article about how Jewish people voted in the 2010 election…[and a] Catholic employee confessing to another employee that he’d eaten a hot dog on a Friday during Lent,” Beemer said.

In addition, he said “any email that mentioned Irish, Italians, Polish, or African Americans was flagged as inappropriate.”

Beemer said the AG’s office was forced to comb through the emails and decide which were actually problematic.

Out of the emails the office identified as truly offensive, 13 were sent by state judges and senior government officials; 38 people were named “high-volume” senders.

But no names were released. Beemer said there were simply too many concerns about privacy and other issues.

“I had to be very mindful about the consequences of naming all of these individuals under the circumstances in which we found this report,” he said.

The entire email dispute dates back to 2014, when former AG Kane discovered agency staff sending lewd messages, and publicly outed eight of them.

That move kicked off the long road towards Kane’s own federal conviction this summer.