Following legislation introduced by state senators, gubernatorial candidate Katie McGinty has come out strongly in support of a cash gift ban.
The former DEP Secretary released a strong statement this afternoon calling for the legislature to enact a gift ban, and stating that she would ban gifts under her administration. That’s a full gift ban, not solely the prohibition of cash and its equivalent, but any offering of monetary value.
“Pennsylvanians are losing faith in state government and one way to remedy that is to enact a ban on all gifts to elected officials and their staff – with no exceptions,” McGinty said. “There will always be a gray area and distrust by the public as long as lobbyists are permitted to provide gifts to the people they are lobbying. The Legislature must act now to ban all gifts immediately because the people of Pennsylvania deserve a government they can trust.”
Such legislation is being introduced cooperatively from Senators Baker and Smucker, which would ban all monetary gifts to legislators, and they intend to introduce additional legislation that would prohibit such gifts to Senate staff.
Senator Daylin Leach is introducing similar legislation, but also includes a ban on campaign contributions given in cash over $50.
The renewed fervor for a ban on cash gifts is clearly the result of the Philadelphia sting investigation. According to the investigation, State Rep. Ronald G. Waters (D-Philadelphia) reportedly accepted $7,650 in bribes, while State Rep. Vanessa Brown (D-Philadelphia) accepted $4,000, State Rep. Michelle Brownlee accepted $3,500 (D-Philadelphia), and State Rep. Louise Bishop (D-Philadelphia) accepted $1,500. Traffic Court Judge Thomasine Tynes was also implicated for accepting a $2,000 Tiffany bracelet.
The Attorney General’s office elected not to bring charges in these crimes, as the result of a flawed investigation that occurred under three separate Attorneys General.
Ahead of the curve on this issue was former Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf, who called for a gift ban back in January of this year.