Corbett should recognize ethical issues in Moran trips
Gov. Tom Corbett cited a clerical error for late disclosure of free trips he and his wife had received from a Watsontown couple with interests in state government business. But the disclosure of the trips raises the question of whether accepting the travel in the first place was an ethical error.
John and Ann Moran, friends of the Corbetts who contributed $75,000 to the governor's campaign in 2010, paid $1,400 for air fare and lodging for the Corbetts' vacation trip to Rhode Island in 2011. Gov. Corbett also has used private aircraft owned by the couple to travel in Pennsylvania.
John Moran is president of Moran Industries, a company engaged in trucking, railroad, warehousing and other logistics operations. After the 2011 trip, Corbett appointed John Moran to a commission that is examining privatization of state services. John Moran also is chairman of the Team Pennsylvania Foundation, which promotes private sector/public-sector partnerships.
The governor also has appointed Ann Moran to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
As a longtime Pennsylvania politician and a former attorney general, Corbett has witnessed a great deal of inappropriate conduct by public officials. He should know better than to accept gifts from people with interests in state government decisions.
The campaign donations and trips funded by the Morans are legal. But legality is a bare minimum standard for any public official, especially the highest-profile officeholder in the commonwealth.
Corbett should recognize the ethical issue raised by accepting the free travel and allow his business travel to be funded by the taxpayers he represents while paying for his own vacation travel.