When a lobbyist gives a black lawmaker a Tiffany bracelet, PA Republicans are scandalized. But when Tom Corbett and his wife get a vacation aboard a businessman’s yacht in Rhode Island, or some sweet New Balance kicks and a dagger of unknown value, they have no problem with that.
And now that some mean ethics reformers want to ban gifts, Republicans are bristling. Their grift, you see, helps the whole state.
But the view from legislative leaders and the governor’s office is not nearly so black and white.
Some said they believe they’ve acted strongly to address a specific problem exposed this spring. And a spokesman for Corbett contends that are times certain “gifts” produce results for the entire state [...]
Steve Miskin, press secretary to House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny County, said the House rules change quickly addressed the specific problem exposed this spring.
If Tom Corbett thinks his junkets out of state are justifiable as economic development spending (which, lol) then they should be funded by the Executive Branch, not private businesses.
The travel expenses could potentially be justified, but how much of that $13,500 in “gifts and hospitality” from the Team PA Foundation was the plane ticket and hotel, and how much of it went to Corbett and friends boozing it up at fancy restaurants with local dignitaries? We don’t know.
By contrast, Tom Wolf, the Democratic nominee for Governor, has sent out a statement slamming Republicans for waffling on the gift ban, and reminding voters that he’ll ban gifts for the Executive branch his first day in office.
“Tom Wolf believes we need to ban gifts now, and he will do so on his first day in office,” said Wolf Spokesman Jeffrey Sheridan. “It is important to restore public trust in government, and as long as Governor Corbett enjoys the perks of his office more than he respects the trust of the public he serves, the culture in Harrisburg will not change.
Tom Wolf will make ethics reform a top priority and you don’t have to look further than his time as Secretary of Revenue to know that his words are not just rhetoric. As secretary, he turned down the perks, donated his salary to charity, and drove his own Jeep on state business. Tom Corbett has taken thousands of dollars worth of gifts from individuals and organizations with business before the Commonwealth. It is unacceptable and it needs to change.”
(via Charles Thompson)