PA-Gov: Corbett Defends Meetings with Campaign Advisers

Governor-Tom-CorbettGov. Tom Corbett sought to further explain today his meetings with campaign advisers that made headlines early last week when Brad Bumsted of the Pittsburgh Tribune- Review first reported them.

Corbett had met with the advisers together with state-paid aides in his Harrisburg office, thereby blurring the line between campaigns and government work that he had been so sure to define for legislators while acting as PA’s Attorney General.

While on a campaign stop in York County, Corbett compared these meetings with those he held while working on a transportation bill the legislature passed in 2013, which brought together individuals from many different sectors, but all concerned about transportation.

“When we did the transportation bill, we had advisers from the industry, from … labor, from business sitting at a table talking to me there,” Corbett claimed. “I collect the information, before I make the decisions.”

This comparison emerges after Corbett Spokesman Jay Pagni claimed last week that advice from many sources is helpful for the governor, in addition to being both “appropriate and legal.”

Corbett maintained the legality of his actions, reminding onlookers that the legislators he put in prison had used state-paid employees to do campaign work, funded campaigns with state dollars, and fundraised for their campaigns on government grounds.

“The most important thing that everybody should recognize is no state dollars were involved,” he said.

Bumsted, though, called on the Governor to be more careful. In an op-ed on Saturday, he decried the possibility that these meetings can be shrugged off by Corbett and his administration.

“Republican Gov. Tom Corbett is either arrogant or politically tone deaf,” he said.

He went on to emphasize that Corbett has for years held himself up as a separator of campaign and government activities in every way, regardless of whether or not state money was involved, and questioned why the governor didn’t simply walk the two blocks from his Capitol office to the Republican Party’s office if he wanted to include campaign advisers.

“As a career prosecutor prior to his election as governor, Corbett should know better,” he asserted. “As attorney general and gubernatorial candidate in 2010, Corbett, at news conferences, would pull two cellphones from his pockets, one campaign-paid and another for state use. Did he forget why he drove home that point?”

FreshStartPA, which last week called for an explanation from the governor, doesn’t buy Corbett’s excuse either. In a press release today, the organization asked that he stop trying to explain away his mistakes and hypocrisy, and start apologizing to his constituents for his actions.

“Last week’s excuse for why Tom Corbett is violating state ethics laws by holding campaign meetings in his state office fell flat, so now he’s come up with a new bizarre statement that doesn’t pass the smell test,” Mike Mikus of FreshStartPA said in reference to the governor’s comparison of his campaign advisers to “civic leaders” involved in forming legislation.

“Tom Corbett put people in jail for using state resources, so he should know that what he is doing is wrong. Instead of comparing his campaign advisers to civic leaders, Tom Corbett should be apologizing for hypocritically breaking the law.”

9 Responses

  1. All he had to do was to say, “Gee, Mr. Bumsted has a point. I think that what we did was legal, but if it bothers a bunch of people, there are other ways of handling things, so we’ll stop doing it. Thanks for pointing that out!”
    Arrogant? Politically tone deaf?
    How about another word?
    How about, “Stupid!”?

  2. Is there any way in which the people of PA are better off because Tom Corbett has been governor? I can think of two small but significant things, but that’s it. In every other direction I look, PA has gone backwards. Corbett has shifted taxes onto property owners — 100% of the cost of miserably failing charter schools now comes from property taxes — so any claim to saving tax dollars is totally bogus. He hasn’t saved anything. He’s given it away to campaign contributors.

  3. TOM CORBETT THE FRONT MAN COLLECTS THE INFORMATION BUT ACTING GOVERNOR BRABENDER HAS THE FINAL VOTE! END THE NON-ELECTED RULE OF THE WASHINGTON CONSULTING CLASS, THAT HOLDS THIS GREAT STATE BACK!

  4. I keep going back to this being the same guy who let Jerry Sandusky skate on Victim #1 until the day after the November 2010 election. No tangible reasons for the documented delays have been put forth.

    The only reasons I see are the 641,481.21 dollars donated to fuel millionaire Governor Corbett’s political ambitions since 2003 by the directors of Second Mile, their family and businesses. Then there was the $3 million state grant to Second Mile approved by Mr. Cobett in July 2011, apropos of nothing, of course..

    And yet all we talk about here lately are these campaign workers who were obviously interfacing about election issues (or else why would they be there?) with state workers in state facilities on the taxpayer’s dime.

  5. Corbett said, “No state dollars were involved.” This was the same spin he used several years ago when he was using his campaign phone for official and campaign business. He and staff from OAG and the campaign were using the same phone to contact him. How much of the conversations were intermixed? Not a problem, no state dollars were involved. As Attorney General, he failed to respect state law that says campaign funds must be used for campaign expenditures only.

    Today, Corbett claims that in order to make a decision, he needs immediate input from his political advisers. In other words, the political advisers can and probably do trump the state advisers.

    So what policy has Corbett put forward for the good of the state or the good of Tom Corbett?
    Political decisions are made to benefit the politician and his followers. Good government policy decisions are made for the good of the citizens. One is designed to influence identified voters and one is designed to better the lives of the citizens.

    Corbett, his state and campaign staffs, should be charged with Theft of Service counts just as he charged others.

  6. LMAO are you kidding me!? Taxpayers pay to maintain the room, the individuals’ salaries within the room. Not to mention trying to compare personal campaign staff with stakeholders of a certain industry regarding a specific piece of legislation is just absolutely absurd. Nice try. Well, not really.

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