Scarnati in Hot Water After Super Bowl Perks From Marcellus Company
By Christina Gongaware, Contributing Writer
Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) is in hot water after a top aide disclosed that he enjoyed a free Super Bowl ticket, plane ride and hotel room compliments of Consol Energy Inc, one of the major companies driling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale.
Though technically permitted under Pennsylvania ethics rules, it’s not a great PR move for Scarnati. Consol has already contributed over $15,000 to his campaigns since 2006. Furthermore, Scarnati has accepted more than $117,000 from companies in the oil and gas industry. He has previously been pointed to as one of the key politicians who has blocked an extraction tax on shale drilling.
Scarnati defended his actions in a completely convincing tweet earlier today: “I will fully reimburse Consol for Super Bowl expenses. Was planning to from the start, but don’t have the paperwork yet.”
Although Mr. Scarnati’s chief of staff attempted to assure citizens that these perks would in no way influence his votes concerning the oil and drilling in the state, his choice to accept the trip seems questionable given the political controversy surrounding development of the Marcellus Shale.
Scarnati’s decision is particularly questionable when contrasted with Governor Tom Corbett’s Super Bowl trip. Corbett had the political and common sense to make clear that he would be using his own funds for the trip before the details came to light.