Government reform advocates say Super Bowl perks enjoyed by top Pennsylvania lawmakers expose shortcomings in the state’s ethics laws.
Natural gas drilling company Consol Energy footed the bill for Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati’s trip to the Super Bowl, according to a story first published in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The Republican has since said he’ll reimburse the company.Other lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, attended the big game as a guest of the Steelers.Barry Kauffman of Common Cause Pennsylvania says the situation shows a disparity between Pennsylvania and other states.
"This situation would appear to be illegal in about 35 – or perhaps even more – states, based on their bans or limits on gifts."
In fact, former New York Governor David Paterson was fined more than 60-thousand dollars last year for soliciting and accepting free 2009 World Series tickets from the Yankees.
That wouldn’t be a problem in Pennsylvania, according to Kauffman.
"There are no limits in Pennsylvania on gifts whatsoever, unless they’re flat-out bribery or something like that."
Pennsylvania law does require lobbyists and lawmakers to disclose physical gifts of more than 250 dollars, and travel and entertainment perks that exceed 650 dollars a year.