I came upon this surprising photograph while researching a story on Pennsylvania's castle doctrine legislation yesterday. Pictured in this photo taken last year in the Governor's Reception Room in the Capitol is Gov. Corbett, flanked by the sponsors of the House and Senate versions of the bill, Sen. Rich Alloway (R., Franklin), on his right and Rep. Scott Perry (R., York).
And who's the guy appearing behind the governor - looking oddly like he was photo-shopped into the image? That's John Hohenwarter, lobbyist for the National Rifle Association in Pennsylvania.
The picture was posted on the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action website under the headline, "Pennsylvania Governor signs NRA-backed Castle Doctrine into Law."
No member of the media or the general public attended that June 28 bill signing. It was listed as a private event.
It's not uncommon at public bill signings for stakeholders to share in photo ops with a governor. It's not unheard of that a registered lobbyist appear in one of those pictures, although a former Rendell administration official said advocates, not paid lobbyists, were invited to have their pictures taken at bill signings.
But a lobbyist to get what amounts to a private audience with a governor for a bill signing?
We are awaiting a response from the Corbett administration.
The image took one gun control proponent in the legislature aback. Sen. Daylin Leach (D., Montgomery) wondered if there was a precedent for such a cozy photo shoot.
"They say a pictures says a thousand words. In this case, it speaks volumes about who is really calling the shots for this administration," said Leach. "I imagine we'll have [anti-tax advocate] Grover Norquist standing behind the Governor when he signs the budget."
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