The Pennsylvania House voted that Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner should be held in contempt after he failed to obey subpoenas a committee issued in August.
The House Select Committee on Restoring Law and Order committee says Krasner twice refused to accept hand-delivery of subpoenas and that his lawyers said they would not comply with one that they had received electronically. The subpoenas were for documents related to the committee’s investigation of Krasner and his enforcement of criminal law.
“This is not a decision we, as a committee, came to lightly,” Representative Torren Ecker said after his committed first recommended contempt, according to local Fox29. “This committee is steadfast in its intention to get to the bottom of the current unrest in Philadelphia, and being denied access to important documents hinders progress in achieving that goal.”
Ecker noted that it is “extremely rare for the House to take up such a measure,” which shows “the gravity of the situation in which we find ourselves.”
Democrat Rep. Rick Krajewski slammed the vote as a “violation of House Rules” and “political theatrics” for being pushed through quickly.
The committee investigation has gone on at the same time that Republican lawmakers have sought to impeach Krasner, arguing that he has created an environment of “unchecked” crime by refusing to prosecute lawbreakers. In December, Krasner stated that it is not true that there had been a spike in violent crime. He has also repeatedly blamed shootings on the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Current Philadelphia Police statistics show that there have been 387 homicides in the city so far this year, compared to 374 at this time in 2021. At the same point in 2017, the year Krasner was elected, that number was 220.
While impeachment efforts have been led by the GOP, the vote for contempt had support from both parties in the House. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, 162 members voted to hold Krasner in contempt – 49 of them Democrats – and 38 opposed. Of the Democrats who voted for contempt, ten are from Philadelphia.
Krasner’s campaign maintains that the committee is acting improperly.
“The House Committee continues to operate outside the bounds of the law,” Krasner’s campaign said in a statement published by Fox29. “The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has said that when a party receives a subpoena that it believes is improper — as we do — you should seek review in court. That is exactly what we have done. It is telling that the ‘Select Committee on Restoring Law and Order’ refuses to follow it. This is, of course, the same committee that asked us to break the law by turning over grand jury material.”