Pennsylvania Democrats file ethics complaint against Corbett

Today, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party filed an ethics complaint against Gov. Tom Corbett. According to a report from the Philadelphia Daily News, Gov. Corbett received gifts from lobbyists and organizations that later benefited from his policies. The facts clearly warrant an investigation by the Ethics Commission into whether gifts Governor Corbett influenced his policy decisions.

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission
Ethics Complaint

This is a complaint and request for an investigation regarding acceptance of gifts by Governor Tom Corbett and the possible improper influence conduced by Governor Corbett and the Corbett administration after receiving such gifts.

The acceptance of gifts is outlined in a March 5, 2013 article in the Philadelphia Daily News (attached). The article states:

"* On Dec. 12, 2011, Frank Schoeneman, chief executive of the Pottsville-­‐based Empire Education Group, a leading chain of beauty schools in Pennsylvania and nationally, flew Gov. Corbett on a private jet to an event in Pittsburgh -­‐ a jaunt that the governor priced at nearly $1,407, the price of a first-­‐class plane ticket.

Ten months later, Corbett signed a bill into law aimed at aiding cosmetology students who attend schools like those operated by Schoeneman, by making it easier for those students to obtain a state license.

* On Jan. 30, 2010, when then-­‐Attorney General Corbett was running for governor, the powerful Blank Rome law firm bought the Corbetts a pair of $2,500 tickets to attend the Philadelphia Academy of Music anniversary concert. Blank Rome also bought Corbett a $65 ticket to the Phillies' home opener in 2010.

Blank Rome operates a lobbying shop representing a number of powerful interests in Harrisburg, and in 2010 was getting more involved in issues related to natural-­‐ gas drilling, or fracking, in Pennsylvania. Blank Rome is listed as an associate member of the pro-­‐industry Marcellus Shale Coalition.

* In January 2011, when Corbett was becoming governor and his hometown Steelers were deep into a playoff run, his longtime friend Jack Barbour -­‐ head of the powerhouse Pittsburgh law firm Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney -­‐ bought him tickets to two of the games, worth $325. Buchanan Ingersoll is also one of the state's most powerful lobbying firms, representing UPMC, as well as energy companies EQT and the Williams Cos. and numerous medical and pharmaceutical outfits.

* When Corbett was sworn in that month, insurance executive Marty Lane, then-­‐ chief executivef of Aegis Security Insurance, donated $1,800 to defray the cost of Susan Corbett's inaugural gown and coat. At the time, Aegis was regulated by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department. (Designers Richard and Theresa Andries, of Andries Couture, also donated $8,276 in inaugural clothing for Pennsylvania's first lady, as well as a $1,500 birthday jacket.)

• As the Daily News reported in January, business executive John Moran of Moran Industries was running a fracking-­‐well waste-­‐recycling business in

Sunbury, Pa., that was under scrutiny by the state Department of Environmental Protection at the same time he paid $1,422 for the Corbetts to fly to Rhode Island for a yachting vacation with Moran over July Fourth weekend in 2011. Moran paid an additional $902 to fly the governor to events in Williamsport and Pittsburgh on Sept. 30, 2011."

The Public Official and Employee Ethics Act states, "No public official, public employee or nominee or candidate for public office shall solicit or accept anything of monetary value, including a gift, loan, political contribution, reward, or promise of future employment based on any understanding of that public official, public employee or nominee that the vote, official action, or judgment of the public official or public employee or nominee or candidate for public office would be influenced thereby." The facts asserted above warrants an investigation by the Ethics Commission into whether gifts Governor Corbett influenced his policy decisions.