Corbett responds to criticism over gifts

    Gov. Tom Corbett is responding to critics who suggest the gifts he accepted in his first two years in office show he’s too cozy with business owners and lobbyists.

    The governor and his wife disclosed gifts worth more than $11,000 from people with reason to care about Pennsylvania policy. Those gifts included private jet travel provided by the owner of a chain of cosmetology schools.

    Corbett takes issue with those who point out that less than a year later, he signed a bill making it easier for beauty school students to make it through school to obtain licenses.

    “And my understanding is it passed overwhelmingly in the House and overwhelmingly in the Senate, so it clearly had no impact over my decisions,” Corbett said Friday. “I do not let that happen.”

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    The bill passed unanimously in the House and Senate.

    Its author, a House Republican, says he had no relationship with the business executive who gave Corbett jet rides.

    The state Democratic Party has filed a complaint with the State Ethics Commission over gifts to the governor.

    Corbett’s only announced gubernatorial challenger, Democrat John Hanger, has called on him to repay the cost of the gifts.

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