Progressive report links Corbett gifts to Pa. business - abc27 WHTM

Progressive report links Corbett gifts to Pa. business

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On Thursday, local activist Gene Stilp filed a complaint with the State Ethics Commission to investigate various alleged gift transactions by Governor Tom Corbett.

Time stamped just before 11 a.m., Gene Stilp held up a complaint that soars to the highest power in Pennsylvania.

A report conducted by Pennsylvania Peoples Campaign, led by former Democratic candidate for governor John Hanger, connected links between gifts the governor received and favors returned to various businesses.

"This ethics complaint ... [is] overdue and absolutely totally warranted," Hanger said.

He and Stilp presented the information under the Capitol Rotunda to a small gathering. The report outlines Governor Corbett and First Lady Susan Corbett received $28,424.66 in "significant gifts." The report points to $18,658 worth came from businesses that are regulated by state government. According to the report, gift-givers made $1,132,050.48 in campaign contributions since 2008.

"The governor has torched the integrity of the state government," Hanger said.

Pennsylvania Peoples Campaign said investigators used public records to compile the report which outlines nine different businesses and their documented gifts.

According to Hanger and Stilp, the most egregious display of "bribery" came from John Moran, owner of Northumberland County trucking company Moran Industries. The report said on July 1, 2011, Moran gave Corbett and his wife a $1,500 private yacht trip to Rhode Island. Two months later in September, Corbett appointed Moran to the Advisory Council on Privatization and Innovation Commission.

Other gifts included an $11,000 trade mission trip to Germany and France in March 2012 for Corbett and his wife, paid for by Moran by way of the group Team PA. The report alleges around the same time, the DEP deemed Moran’s trucking company not need a permit to haul waste from Marcellus Shale drilling sites in Sunbury.

"That is just one example of the many, many kinds of benefits that flowed to various gift-givers," Hanger said.

During a news conference in Lebanon, Corbett said he could not address specifics of the report, but responded in general.

"Nobody has come to Harrisburg and have done more to change the culture of Harrisburg, particularly in my time as attorney general, in opening up this town," he said.

The governor said he reported all the facts outlined in the report.

"So, it's election-year politics that are going on at this point and time," Corbett said. "So, based upon that, I really don't have much more to say."

Hanger said the report is based on fact and are not partisan attacks.

“Republicans, Independents, Democrats, people who don't vote will be outraged by the provision of benefits," he said.

Tim Potts, Carlisle School Board member and self-described concerned citizen, said he felt compelled to speak out publicly about the information uncovered. He said the time is now for state lawmakers to pass a law that would ban state officials from accepting gifts.

"It's time for Governor Corbett to lead by example and make state government as ethical as the people he serves want it to be," Potts said.

Currently, 10 states have laws that ban its government workers from accepting gifts. Another 31 states have monetary caps and limitations on how much they could receive.

Pennsylvania state officials are only required to publicly report cash or gifts valued more than $50, which Corbett has done.

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