Attorney General Bruce Beemer

Attorney General Bruce Beemer

Via PCN

PA ‘good old boys’ network still secret — ‘porn report’ released with no names

Bruce Beemer basically said the report is garbage.

Former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane went to jail and is out on bail — but she left her temporary successor with a huge can of nasty, pornographic, racist worms.

Today, interim Attorney General Bruce Beemer, who will be replaced in January by Democrat Josh Shapiro, today released a long-awaited report commissioned by Kane that aimed to review thousands of emails sent to and from state officials that she alleged were inappropriate. She spent a major part of her tenure slamming the “good old boys” network in PA politics and its justice system. The actual report found that more than 160 judges, 35 prosecutors, 30 executive officials and five lawmakers sent inappropriate emails. It focused specifically on 51 people who were high-volume senders.

And we don’t really know who they are, because Beemer ordered the report to be heavily redacted. No one was named, despite “hundreds” of “patently offensive” emails found.

Beemer, who took office at the end of August, was quick to explain during a press conference Tuesday (in which he took questions, unlike Kane) that members of his staff found major problems with the report that was conducted over the last year by former Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler and the law firm Buckley Sandler LLP, at — in Beemer’s own words — hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer expense. More than 11,000 emails fit a definition that was deemed “offensive” by the law firm.

However, Beemer described the definition as “extremely over-inclusive and somewhat troubling.” Among the emails flagged inappropriate was one that was about encouraging women to conduct self-breast exams, a la the “Feel Your Boobies” campaign. Another was about a Catholic employee confessing to a coworker he ate a hot dog on a Friday during lent. Any email referencing Irish, Italian, Polish or African Americans was flagged as inappropriate. Beemer also said many of the emails flagged were sent more than five years ago.

“There was no attempt made to determine the context of the emails, the content, the relationship between the parties sending the emails, and that created a real problem,” Beemer said.

The report was reviewed by four attorneys appointed by Beemer. Among them were three women and one person of color.

The attorney general said he’s weighed for weeks whether or not to redact the names of people flagged by Buckley Sandler. But his office will send out “several dozen” notices to local, state and federal agencies with information about people in their offices who may need to be disciplined.

He also said some of the people named in the report were union members in the Office of the Attorney General, many of whom had already been disciplined.

Beemer said that there was no evidence of inappropriate ex-parte communication (or when judges and lawyers speak outside court about cases moving through the justice system) and there was no criminal activity revealed through the report and its corresponding investigation.

Of the 51 people the report focused on, five were judges. Two of those judges have already been made public — they are former state Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffrey and Justice J. Michael Eakin. Both of the justices lost their jobs as a result of the scandal. The other three judges, Beemer said, apparently sent emails flagged as inappropriate to their spouses or family members — in other words, these might have been dirty emails but they weren’t sent as work communication.

While Beemer chided the report, he also said “that’s not to say there were not significant problems.” What he did say is that “there’s nothing new,” and the most offensive emails were already publicly known. He also said many of the issues had nothing to do with porn, but rather were issues with language.

“It creates enormous problems that people continue to refer to this as ‘the porn report’ when the vast majority of this information is not pornographic at all,” he said.

Beemer said he understands there will be people who “aren’t going to be happy” with the contents of the report released today.

“All you do not have is the names,” he said. “Because to do so… I felt would be imprudent. It would not be fulfilling one of my most important responsibilities, which is protect the fundamental rights of every citizen.”

Kane was sentenced to spend more than 10 months in county jail after she was convicted on charges of perjury. She’s currently out on bail pending appeal.

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