Wednesday, September 24, 2014

John Hanger's statement on Senate passage of medical marijuana bil

John Hanger today said that Senate passage of the bill making medical marijuana available to those suffering from illness treatable with marijuana is a landmark in Pennsylvania history for compassion and common sense. Hanger had been a strong, effective champion of legalizing marijuana when he was a candidate for governor during the primary.

“I want to thank the members of the Pennsylvania Senate for their votes to make medical marijuana available to those who need it,” said Hanger. “And I especially want to thank the tireless advocates, whose stories and struggles finally have been heard and validated by this historic vote.”

“Now the bill moves to the House of Representatives which has plenty of time to pass this bill,” continued Hanger. “Voters should contact their representative and let them know that the vote on this bill will determine whether or not they vote to re-elect them in November. Voters should also ask all candidates for the state House if they support this bill.”

“The House Republican leadership now faces a choice,” said Hanger. “Either bring the medical marijuana bill up for a vote before the election, or prolong the suffering of the individuals and families that need this medicine. I sincerely hope and urge Representative Michael Turzai and Representative Sam Smith to do the right thing.”

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Corbett returns the favors

Marty Lane is a politically-connected businessman who owns insurance companies and property management firms. He has donated $88,000 to Corbett’s campaigns and paid $1800 toward the cost of Mrs. Corbett’s inaugural ball gown. Now Corbett has returned those favors and nominated Lane’s son, Gregory, to be one of two commissioners at the Civil Service Commission for a 6-year term at a yearly salary of $82,500. Watch local TV coverage of the story here.

Corbett also lived in a Martin Lane-owned luxury condo (example of a unit in picture below) in Harrisburg while he was the attorney general. Did Corbett pay full market rent for the condo? If so, it should be easy for the governor to release the rent receipts and cancelled checks.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Corbett makes McDonnel's crimes look minor

The corruption conviction of former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell should send chills through Harrisburg, where gift-taking is as natural as breathing. And the Pennsylvania official who should be shivering hardest is Governor Corbett.
McDonnell was not convicted for corruption of legally defined official acts, such as making appointments to office, but instead for what Politico described as “fairly mundane things” like arranging government meetings for a businessman who was trying to promote a dietary supplement. 
By contrast, the public record documents that Corbett has taken $18,658 in gifts from eight different people or companies doing business with the state and standing to benefit from the official actions of the governor and top officials. 
The starkest case involves gifts given to Tom Corbett by shale-gas drilling waste-hauler and Corbett donor John Moran.  Moran gave Tom Corbett two large gifts: a yacht vacation for the governor and Mrs. Corbett valued at $1,422.80 in July 2011, and free flights for the governor on Moran's private plane and helicopter the following September.  
The fact the governor accepts big gifts from donors with regulatory matters before state regulators is bad enough, but more troubling are the benefits Moran got back from Corbett.
A week before shoving off on their the yacht voyage, Moran joined the board of Team PA, the state-funded economic development organization that Corbett co-chairs.
Then, a day before Corbett took his free air travel, he appointed Moran’s wife to the Pennsylvania Museum and Historical Commission and Moran himself to the Advisory Council on Privatization and Innovation.
And in March, 2012, while Corbett, his wife and Moran were on an all-expenses-paid Team PA trade mission to Europe, DEP closed an investigation begun during the Rendell administration into Moran’s drilling-waste hauling operation and found it did not need an environmental permit.
The governor did much more for Mr. Moran than simply arrange meetings with state employees, as McDonnell did, even though the Virginia case makes clear that arranging such meetings for gift-givers is quite enough to violate the law.
Corbett’s conduct — already part of the public record, and summarized in a report by the Pennsylvania People’s Campaign at — is appalling.
Based on these documented facts, which are at least as damning as the evidence that convicted McDonnell, government-integrity activist Gene Stilp has filed a complaint against the Governor with the Ethics Commission.
Indeed, the McDonnell verdict suggests that, at the very least, a full investigation by law enforcement with subpoena power should start immediately.