Three Republican members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives said on Monday they are circulating a legislative memo — the first step in creating an actual bill — that would begin impeachment proceedings against controversial Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner.
Reps. Josh Kail (R-Beaver/Washington), Torren Ecker (R-Adams/Cumberland) and Tim O’Neal (R-Washington) said the recent mass shooting on South Street was a catalyst in their decision.
“We did not arrive at this decision lightly or easily,” said Rep. Kail. “In fact, we are taking this action after we have taken significant steps to pass legislation that addresses violent crime in Philadelphia by ensuring our current laws are enforced.”
READ MORE — R. Seth Williams: Krasner puts ideology over duty in pursuing phony innocence claims
Republicans have consistently blamed Krasner for the upswing in violence in Philadelphia, oftentimes saying he’s more sympathetic to the accused than he is to crime victims.
As of Monday, the city’s homicide tally stood at 227, a six percent decrease from 2021. But 2021 was a remarkable year in that it was only the second time in the city’s history in which it reached the 500 homicides mark — eventually ending the year at the historical high of 562.
“Once the Articles of Impeachment are introduced, they will then be referred to committee,” the three Republicans said in their release. “Once the committee approves them, the Articles of Impeachment can be considered by the full House of Representatives. If approved by the House, there will be a trial in the Senate to determine whether the impeached official should be removed from office.”
Generally speaking, the Republicans say Krasner has been derilict in his duty by “refusing to enforce current criminal laws already on the books in Pennsylvania that are designed to keep communities safe.”
The idea of impeaching the controversial district attorney is not new.
It was first publicly introduced in January, when the president of the Pennsylvania Senate, Jake Corman (R – Centre/Mifflin) proposed the idea.
“Today’s announcement couldn’t come soon enough,” said Corman spokesman Jason Thompson. “Philadelphians deserve a DA who puts dangerous criminals behind bars instead of letting them back out onto the streets to seek more victims. It is encouraging to see members of the House moving forward to end the crisis of lawlessness that has festered under Larry Krasner’s watch.”
However, because Corman proposed the idea just days after he announced his candidacy for governor, Democrats accused him of grandstanding. Corman later dropped out of the race just days before the primary vote.
Philadelphians deserve a DA who puts dangerous criminals behind bars instead of letting them back out onto the streets to seek more victims.
Apart from Corman, Democrats have said the effort is also an attempt to undo the will of the people in Philadelphia.
“This is the standard Republican playbook: lose elections and then try to overturn them through less democratic measures. DA Krasner was duly elected by the people of Philadelphia and a State Senator from Centre County has no business trying to remove him,” said Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa of Allegheny County in January, when Corman’s proposal was first announced.
Krasner’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.
Krasner faced an intra-party challenge in the 2021 primary from former assistant district attorney Carlos Vega. However, despite many Republicans in the city changing their registration to Democrat in an attempt to oust him, Krasner won 70-30. He then coasted to re-election in November.
The only successful impeachment in Pennsylvania since the 19th century was that of state Supreme Court Justice Rolf Larsen, who was impeached and removed from office in 1994 following his criminal conviction for illegally conspiring to obtain prescription drugs.
Todd Shepherd is Broad + Liberty’s chief investigative reporter. Send him tips at email@example.com, or use his encrypted email at firstname.lastname@example.org. @shepherdreports