Gov. Corbett violated his office’s code of conduct by accepting gifts from lobbyists and executives from regulated businesses and should repay the value of the largesse, John Hanger, a Democrat who is running for governor, said on Tuesday.
In addition, the state Democratic Party filed a formal complaint with the State Ethics Commission asking it to investigate “possible improper influence” in connection with the gifts and administration decisions.
Both moves came in reaction to a Philadelphia Daily News report that Corbett and his wife, Susan, accepted $11,343 in gifts from business executives, lobbyists or lobbying firms in 2010 –during his campaign for governor – and in 2011, his first year in office. The newspaper linked many of the gifts, including tickets to sporting events and concerts, to later decisions taken by the Corbett administration that appeared to benefit the givers.
“By accepting such gifts, [Corbett] effectively invalidates the Governor’s Code of Conduct that has been part of our law since 1980,” Hanger said in a statement. “If it’s OK for the governor to take gifts from those doing business with the state, then the governor is saying that other executive branch employees may do the same.”