I just don’t get it.
You’re governor, and you decide it’s okay for a campaign contributor and businessman with ties to gas drilling to treat you to $1,422 worth of vacation travel and accommodations, and then you appoint him to a state commission to study privatization.
And you fail to disclose this on your legally-required statement of financial interests with the State Ethics Commission, then amend it months later to include the gift, along with $901 worth of free travel on the businessman’s plane and helicopter.The governor here is Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania, and the revelations on Corbett’s amended financial disclosure were caught by Marie Cusick, who’s working on the State Impact Pennsylvania project.
And, yes, that’s the same State Impact powered by WHYY’s Susan Phillips and WITF’s Scott Detrow that just earned one of journalism’s most prestigious honors, the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award for excellence in broadcast and digital journalism.
Corbett’s spokesman told Cusick the initial failure to disclose the gifts was a clerical error, and he told reporters who asked him about it yesterday that he “followed the law.”
John Micek of the Allentown Morning Call added this account of the governor’s exchange with reporters:
Asked whether he believed the summer jaunt with Moran created the impression that a wealthy donor had access to government not afforded to a regular citizen, Corbett shot back, “Are you saying that John Moran is not a regular citizen?”
“A lot of people have access to me,” he said. “They are friends.”
This is a lovely holiday present for Corbett’s opponents in the 2014 governor’s race. They can start working on their ad copy now.