(The Center Square) — After accusations, public hearings, and a committee investigation, the Republican-majority Pennsylvania House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 107-85 in favor of impeachment proceedings against Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner.

A 14-8 party-line vote in the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday favoring House Resolution 240 forwarded the articles of impeachment to the full House.

“We are finally going to be holding Larry Krasner accountable for his actions,” Rep. Martina White, R-Philadelphia, said after the committee vote Tuesday.

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Krasner’s critics focused on public safety as why they support impeachment.

“At the end of the day, crime is not a partisan issue. Fixing it should not be partisan, either,” said House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Bellefonte. “But you got a DA who’s choosing not to protect the people who put him in office, so somebody’s gotta step up.”

During the House floor debate on Wednesday, Republicans emphasized their concerns about lawlessness and misbehavior in office that isn’t necessarily criminal conduct. While they did not argue Krasner took any illegal action, they point to authority to impeach based on “any misbehavior.” 

That misbehavior included, White argued, intentionally misleading judges, neglecting the duty of the district attorney’s office, and unprofessional conduct.

“The Philadelphia district attorney has unilaterally decided not to enforce the laws as written,” said Rep. Tim Bonner, R-Grove City. “The power of discretion is not absolute.”

“These changes have endangered the health, welfare, and safety of 1.5 million Pennsylvanians who live in Philadelphia,” said Rep. Torren Ecker, R-Abbottstown.

The resolution comes after months of an investigation into the Philadelphia district attorney’s office which Krasner called “anti-democratic.” The House found him in contempt and focused their public hearings on a “dramatic” increase in gun violence cases that went unprosecuted.

“They are making a last minute, lame-duck session desperate move to impeach another duly elected public official,” said Rep. Joe Hohenstein, D-Philadelphia. “The House has rarely ever voted to impeach a public official.”

Hohenstein argued there was “no justification” for impeachment and Republicans were acting in haste.

“We’ve been delivered an incomplete interim report, leaving us to beg the question: Where’s the beef?” Hohenstein said.

“It is sad that in a lame duck session we are using the extraordinary power we have with such disregard,” said Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Philadelphia. “Why aren’t we using that power (of the House) to fix what is broken?”

Democrats focused their opposition on the lack of action from the General Assembly to pass gun-control laws.

“The truth of the matter is that our district attorney is not the only one responsible,” said Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Philadelphia. “This chamber is also responsible. Until we’re willing to make the change here and do what is necessary, we don’t have the right, the privilege, or the honor to utter the names of those who lost their lives in my city. It is a disgrace to use those lives for political points without doing the necessary work to change the circumstance by which my community must live.”

The Pennsylvania General Assembly has rarely impeached elected officials. The last successful impeachment happened in 1994 against then-Supreme Court Justice Rolf Larsen

Krasner has passionately defended his approach to criminal justice and criticized the impeachment proceedings against him as politically motivated.

“I hope that one day we can have a real conversation about the prosecution of crime and public safety,” Krasner said in an open letter to Republicans in October. “We have much work to do. But we can only do it when you are not seeking political points right before an election.”

With the House vote, the Senate will hold a trial on whether to convict Krasner in the next session. To convict the district attorney, the Senate requires a two-thirds vote in favor. If the Senate votes in favor after a trial, Krasner would be removed from office and disqualified from holding public office in the commonwealth in the future.

Anthony Hennen is a reporter for The Center Square. Previously, he worked for Philadelphia Weekly and the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal. He is managing editor of Expatalachians, a journalism project focused on the Appalachian region.

This article was republished with permission from The Center Square.

2 thoughts on “Pennsylvania House votes to impeach Krasner”

  1. A completely foolish and wasteful exercise in partisan politics. Krasner was elected by the citizens of Philadelphia twice, and Fetterman’s track record which is a complete parallel to what Krasner believes was overwhelmingly endorsed by the voters of Philadelphia just this month. Voters tell what the issues are that bother them through their votes. Apparently there is no issue with the crime rate in Philadelphia, since there hasn’t been a single repudiation of the leadership position there by its voting citizenry. I may think that this makes no sense to me, but I do not live in Philadelphia, so I defer to the opinion of the voters who do. This should be the libertarian POV.

    1. Regrettably KRASNER is making this impeachment a political issue not the State Legislature. It is a shame that he has so many members of the General Assembly bullied and afraid of him that they are voting to protect him and his reckless conduct. — Years ago Arlen Specter, when he was DA, arrested political officials FOR “MISFEASANCE, MALFEASANCE AND NONFEASANCE IN OFFICE. Is not Krasner’s actions as DA the very embodiment of those crimes. He has unilaterally refused to enforce the laws of the Commonwealth because he feels they should be changed. If he does not like some of the criminal laws in effect in PA, then he should resign immediately and run for either Legislator, Senator of even Governor of PA. — When criminals figure out that there are no consequences for crimes, like retail theft and possession of a firearm. guess what? They commit those crimes and more. — Yes Krasner was elected but that election saw the least turnout of any in modern history. In Philadelphia, his progressive (communist) policies have resulted in the deaths of many of our citizens, including innocent children by-standers in their homes while they innocently played in their play pens. — Larry Krasner has NEVER apologized to the families of those victims. He has a universal narcissistic way of blaming every one but himself. He blames the laws of PA (which he chooses to selectively and capriciously not prosecute) He blames the Police for not arresting more people. He blames the Judges for being “soft on crime”. He blames the pandemic. The list goes on and on. NEVER once has he ever criticized himself or his policies. He acts like a god not a public servant. He has to go in order to bring back some sense of Law and Order to our streets. So as to allow retail business to stay open, to allow us to walk our dogs in the evenings, to allow our children to walk back and forth to school, to allow tourists to come and enjoy all that Philadelphia has to offer. — Between him and our incompetent “out to lunch” Mayor, our city is being taken down to the depth of depravity and crime. KRASNER MUST GO! And Thank God that our pusey Mayor will be out of office soon too. They just don’t get it! Philadelphians are scared to death to walk the streets of Philadelphia they are afraid to drive their cars. This is crime and the guilty one, whose head is on the block, is KRASNER!!! For the sake of our children and our grandchildren please remove this arrogant, incompetent and egotistical pathetic egomaniac NOW!!1

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