ABOVE PHOTO: Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner talks about Republican-led efforts to investigate his record addressing crime and gun violence on the front steps of the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg on Friday, Oct. 21. 2022. Krasner said he believes lawmakers could be voting on an impeachment effort in the state House as early as next week. (AP Photo/Mark Scolforo)
By Mark Scolforo
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania state House Republicans on Wednesday introduced a measure to impeach Philadelphia’s Democratic district attorney, saying they may add session days to get the job done before the two-year legislative term expires next month.
Rep. Martina White, the only House Republican who currently represents the city, sponsored the 22-page resolution aimed at removing District Attorney Larry Krasner a year after he was overwhelmingly reelected.
White and about two dozen other House Republicans announced the move at a Capitol news conference.
White accused Krasner of “dereliction of duty and despicable behavior” and running an office with a “staggering amount of dysfunction.” She said Krasner is “responsible for the rise of crime across our city.”
Krasner tweeted just before the news conference that those seeking his removal “don’t allege I’ve committed a crime.”
“They just don’t think Philly has a right to govern itself.”
“We knew this was coming,” Krasner wrote, calling it “devastating to democracy, and it shows how far toward fascism the Republican Party is creeping.”
“These Republicans divest from communities and then grandstand about crime for political gain,” he said.
White’s impeachment resolution takes aim at his management of the office, policies regarding not prosecuting prostitution or marijuana possession cases, treatment of immigration defendants, gun crimes and cash bail. Backers of his removal blame him for recent sharp increases in the city’s number of killings.
“His lack of proper leadership serves as a direct and proximate cause of the crisis currently facing the city of Philadelphia,” White’s resolution states, alleging his policies “have eviscerated the district attorney’s office’s ability to adequately enforce the laws of this commonwealth” and endangered city residents and visitors.
The measure was sent to the Judiciary Committee. If the House votes to impeach Krasner, a trial in the Senate would require a two-thirds vote to remove him from the job.
House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, a Republican from Centre, said the House will take up the proposal “as soon as it hits the floor” and has been reported out by the Judiciary Committee, which appears likely.
The House is only scheduled to be back in session Nov. 14-16, when leadership contests for the coming two-year session are likely to be a major distraction.
But Benninghoff said the timing of the introduction of White’s impeachment resolution “has nothing to do with the election” that will occur Nov. 8.
Impeachment and removal by the Legislature is exceedingly rare, occurring most recently against Supreme Court Justice Rolf Larsen nearly three decades ago.