Report: Gov. Corbett Allowed Campaign Officials Into Government Meetings

Governor-Tom-CorbettAs Attorney General, Gov. Tom Corbett cracked down on legislators who used state money to pay campaign staffers. Yet according to Brad Bumsted of the Tribune-Review, records show that as Governor, Corbett has frequently allowed members of his campaign team to attend meetings. This has angered opponents and others who were targets when Corbett was Attorney General.

During his time (2005-2010) as Attorney General, Corbett led a charge that convicted 23 legislative staffers and ex-lawmakers. Now, those who were on the receiving end of Corbett’s crackdown are attacking him for allowing campaign aides into meetings.

Whether Corbett’s actions in allowing campaign aides to attend governmental meetings are illegal, unethical, and hypocritical, or proper, smart, and legal depends on who you ask.

Joel Sansone, who represented former House Democratic Whip Mike Veon, believes there is some hypocrisy in letting campaign members attend the governmental meetings. Veon is serving a six to fourteen-year state prison sentence for felony theft.

“It’s difficult to prove it’s illegal, but it certainly is an appearance of impropriety,” Sansone said.

Bill Fetterhoff, another lawyer who represented others charged by Corbett, said, “People should be judged by the standards by which they judged others. Who cares about this? The people he has crucified for crossing the lines.”

According to Corbett spokesman Jay Pagni, the Governor’s action in allowing campaign aides into meetings was “appropriate and legal.” In addition, campaign manager Mike Barley explains that “there is no tax money involved” in allowing aides to attend gatherings of state officials.

However, the assertion that no state money was involved has not silenced opponents.

“Public resources are not supposed to be used for partisan political purposes,” Barry Kauffman, executive director of Common Cause of Pennsylvania, said. “I think (Corbett) places himself in a position of hypocrisy if he doesn’t apply the same standards to himself (that) he applied to others.”

FreshStartPA, a PAC aligned with the Wolf campaign, hit the incumbent hard after learning of the news.

“Tom Corbett needs to explain why he thinks it is appropriate for him to conduct campaign business in his taxpayer funded office,” Campaign for a Fresh Start spokesman Mike Mikus said. “Given his track record of putting people in jail for the same actions, Tom Corbett needs to explain why he feels that he should be held to a different standard.”

“Despite his efforts to mislead voters, Tom Corbett is just a typical Harrisburg politician who thinks the rules don’t apply to him,” Mikus concluded. “This is just the latest example of why Pennsylvania needs a new Governor.”

16 Responses

  1. I would much rather have a spin doctor receiving a campaign paycheck present than a spin doctor receiving a government paycheck since I don’t have to pay taxes to the former. If you want to draw such a distinction, you really don’t know how politics works. It’s a revolving door between the campaign and the executive branch. Why do you think Axelrod, Cutter, Messina, et al. went back and forth between the White House and OFA? Do you really think that they didn’t use any private information to their advantage on the campaign trail?

  2. Bill I sincerely hope you are pretending to be naive as a matter of making a point. If you don’t think this White House is one of the most campaign-oriented in history, I think you’d better wipe the Kool Aid from your own mouth first.

  3. Scott-
    There is a difference between political advisers and campaign staff.

    At the federal level of government is the Hatch Act which is supposed to prevent co-mingling of political activities with work of government employees.

  4. There is absolutely nothing illegal or unethical for a campaign advisor to be in a major policy meeting. Every single level of government in both parties have that. The advisor is simply giving a political advisement on a major decision. Do you not think Axelrod was in on whitehouse meeting at the end of Obama’s first tenure? And there is no and never will be any evidence or reports of taxpayer money being spent on these campaign officials for their time at these meeting. Any suggestions otherwise is just blatant bs and pa politics taking advantage of the uncertainty inherent in this situation. This is scummy and poor newswork asking corrupt politicians for their opinions on the man who put them behind bars. You can do better PA politics. Corbett just advanced 265 million to philly schools so they can start in time, why not “report” on that.

  5. Esquire & Unsanctioned R,
    So you’re saying Obama staff meeting with former campaign advisors (who are well trusted and have a good track record with policies & perception) is the same as One Term Tom having current campaign staff (probably on the payroll) involved in govt. meetings during an active campaign? You’re not advocating we waive the two term limit for Obama to run again, are you? If not, I fail to see the relevancy of the comparison. Then again… I’m not on the Fox subsidized Kool Aid, either.

  6. The spin machine is sickening. Corbett and Fina charged people with Theft of Service for stealing time from the government. What do you think the state employees were doing with campaign staff in their midst. The campaign was directing the public policy.

  7. What a pathetic group of politicos this Commonwealth has- wolf is mediocre and just more of the clueless tax and spend libs- but Corbett clearly inhaled something – what else explains his conduct. What a pathetic candidate he is-if dems are smart link their opponent to Corbett- his campaign money can’t overcome his sad shortcomings.

  8. How many lobbyists are on the campaign payroll this time around? It helped them buy up some support last time.

  9. People may want to know that as AG his Chief of staff making 6 figures served simultaneously as his Campaign Manager. No conflict there………

  10. PPA might want to add that Veon was convicted for paying bonuses to his legislative staffers for doing campaign work on the clock.

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