I really wish Democrats in my area were more aligned with me on anything remotely fiscal or on the right to bear arms. I need an alternative that’s serious about issues and not running for fun on a third party ticket. So much that’s wrong with the GOP in this area of Pennsylvania is represented by what has recently been uncovered about recent ethics violations, some by a Republican former lawmaker from this region as he heads up a government monopoly agency.
We’ve got favors in exchange for business opportunities and crony capitalism:
For six months beginning last summer, the report said, a top LCB aide devoted part of her time to searching for jobs for Conti’s brother and daughter. It was not clear from the report who had directed the aide to do this.
But earlier this year, the report said, Conti e-mailed Starr, recommending that the famed restaurateur hire his daughter.
In the same e-mail, Conti wrote: “On the business front, I would love to revisit the opportunity for a wine boutique in one of your future properties. Team PLCB could be [a] dependable partner. . . . And thank you for reading the info from a proud father in regards to his daughter . . . .”
Weeks later, Conti’s daughter was hired as an executive assistant for Starr Restaurants Catering Group, the report says.
We’ve got sponsorship gifts for the spouses organized by the bureaucrats:
The report concluded that Stapleton, the onetime LCB chairman, accepted several gifts from an LCB vendor, North Wales-based Capital Wine & Spirits.
The gifts included about $1,700 worth of alcohol for an event at the Hotel Hershey last year that Stapleton and his ex-wife organized – the annual Keystone Weekend, billed as a forum for business, civic, sports, and entertainment leaders to exchange ideas on current issues.
Stapleton solicited the alcohol and the LCB vendor donated 60 bottles, the report said. It quoted an e-mail sent to him last Sept. 12 by a Capital executive: “The wine and spirits for Keystone weekend is taken care of.”
The report said another LCB vendor, Majestic Wine & Spirits, lined up a celebrity chef for the same event.
We’ve got pay-offs with free tickets to major sporting events with companies seeking business deals with the agency:
It says one LCB vendor secured a round of golf with a pro for Stapleton during a tournament at Aronimink – and sent two employees to serve as Stapleton’s caddies.
Conti, according to the report, frequently attended Philadelphia-area sporting events last summer.
He and his wife, Molli, were described as guests of the Philadelphia Union during one of its soccer games last June – at a time when the team was trying to conduct business with the LCB. Weeks later, the Union invited Conti again, but Short, the LCB marketing director, ended up going in his place, the report said.
Conti, a former Republican state senator from Bucks County, was described as often attending Phillies games as a guest of LCB vendors. Investigators “found no evidence that Conti or his family members paid for the tickets.”
The problem in this is that it’s not business partners doing something nice for each other. The article points out that it’s a crime for these executives to accept gifts, and the state ethics laws also prohibit the employees from using their position to benefit their family members. Interestingly, this wasn’t even a thorough investigation because the investigators couldn’t interview staff or vendors. They relied solely on what the executives were admitting to in official emails.
Of course, members of the GOP in other parts of the state are largely responsible for stalling the privatization bills that would get the state out of the business of selling liquor so that these politicians-turned-bureaucrats wouldn’t even be in a position to use their offices to demand favors and jobs in exchange for business opportunities at taxpayer expense.
I know that in this area, the Republicans brag about not being too socially conservative. That’s fine, but not just because it’s more in line with my views, but because this area has a large population of NY and NJ transplants who aren’t socially conservative either. Then they also brag about not being fiscal conservatives, either. Everything the GOP leaders here say in public are very much about just staying in control as opposed to actually promoting good government or even ideas. It’s very frustrating because they don’t give me a single reason to vote for them as opposed to voting against the other guy in the race. We have a few exceptions here and there, but not many.