Tom Corbett Continues Attacks On Transparency

It recently came to light that Pennsylvania’s wildly unpopular Governor, Tom Corbett, has gone to remarkable lengths in order to avoid transparency laws and conduct his business behind closed doors. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “The governor said he rarely uses email because he knows reporters would file Right-To-Know requests to get them. Instead, he said, he uses the telephone.”

Well if Governor Corbett is going to conduct all his business on the phone to skirt transparency laws, then American Bridge is going to FOIA for his phone records — which is exactly what we did.

Well the results are in. And surprise, surprise, Corbett‘s office did as little as humanly possible to comply with the request. They disclosed only partial mobile phone logs, no land-line logs, denied our request for notes related to the phone calls, and redacted the origin and destination of every call.

If Governor Corbett has nothing […]

Read more after the jump.

Corroding the Classroom: Republican Gubernatorial Candidates’ Devastating Cuts to Education

In key gubernatorial races across the country, education funding has become a major issue — and that’s bad news for Republicans.

In 2010, a slew of GOP candidates rode a tea party wave to governorships, promising massive budget overhauls that would hand tax cuts to the wealthy and cut other programs to pay for them. Well they delivered on those promises, and one after the next gutted education funding as they reshaped their states in the tea party mold. Now they’re reaping what they’ve sown.

From Rick Scott and Scott Walker to Sam Brownback, Tom Corbett and more, Republican governors are getting slammed for slashing funds for schools, dealing a blow to their respective reelection bids, while prospective governors like Doug Ducey have promised to do the same. Locked in tight races, these Tea Party governors are floundering to explain their draconian cuts to concerned constituents by twisting numbers and distorting their records.

But there is no explaining away the truth: these governors put tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations ahead of children’s education, and families in their states are paying the price.

Read more after the jump.

Crooked Chiefs

The Republican Governors Association says “the future of the GOP rests in the hands of the Republican governors.” Given the Tea Party antics and extreme agenda of Republicans in Congress, that very well may be true. But if it is, Republicans have a serious problem on their hands because nearly half of all current Republican governors nationwide are facing corruption charges or other scandals. Nowhere has this been more apparent than in the political rise and fall of former Virginia Governor

Bob McDonnell, newly convicted on eleven counts of corruption in a scandal with a wealthy donor and benefactor all of his own making.

Investigation cover ups. Illegal gifts. Cronyism. Pay to play schemes. Taxpayer dollars going to campaign purposes. Using their office to exact political revenge on their own constituents. The list of allegations goes on and on and on. From Georgia to Wisconsin to Kansas to New Jersey, the headlines are piling up. American Bridge has conducted extensive research on each of these Republican governors, diving deep into their records to bring these allegations to light. Our new collection of research on the Republican Party’s best hope for its future shows just how dim that future may really be.

Read more after the jump.

American Bridge Submits FOIA Request For Gov. Corbett’s Phone Records

It isn’t every day that the chief executive of a state admits that he expressly operates in a manner to skirt transparency laws. But that’s exactly what Governor Corbett has done.

As the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported last week, Corbett has gone to incredible lengths to conduct business outside of the public eye:

“The governor said he rarely uses email because he knows reporters would file Right-To-Know requests to get them. Instead, he said, he uses the telephone. He said he needs the freedom to be able to express opinions that he may later want to change. Mr. Corbett said he deletes his emails about once a week.”

That’s a stunning concession and one that demonstrates contempt for the spirit of open democracy. As such, American Bridge is issuing a FOIA request for Governor Corbett’s official phone records. The people of Pennsylvania deserve to know exactly what their governor has made such a concerted effort to conceal.

Click here to view FOIA request.

Being a Corbett “ghost employee” is nice no-work, if you can get it

Make one call a day, send five emails a year, pass “Go,” and collect $140,000. That’s the Monopoly-esque carte blanche that Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett presented to his former state education secretary Ron Tomalis.

Reports have surfaced that Tomalis has been a “ghost employee” for the past fourteen months, collecting his former cabinet salary while doing precious little work as a higher education adviser to Governor Corbett.

Pennsylvanians are understandably frustrated that taxpayer dollars have continued to pay Tomalis’ salary to do little to no work, especially in the midst of a state fiscal crisis. Tomalis is now resigning his phony post, but not after taking in more than double the median income in the Keystone State, leaving us with two questions: when is Corbett going to issue taxpayers a refund for Tomalis’ salary, and where can we sign up to become “ghost employees”?

Watch local press take Corbett to […]

Read more after the jump.