That is, it's wrong as long as it doesn't apply to his Office of Attorney General and his campaign for governor.
As Attorney General, Corbett awarded a taxpayer funded no-bid contract to Jennifer Branstetter to “consult on development and maintenance of OAG outreach projects; provide advice on brochures, media handouts, videos and promotional pieces." This contract runs through June 30, 2011. (Contract #4000013722)
Anyone who has followed any of the bonusgate hearings or trials will know that Corbett's prosecutors practically spit whenever discussing work described as "outreach projects" conducted by state legislative employees. They have worked overtime trying to convince judges, juries and the public that "outreach" is just a euphemism for "campaign work."
We're sure Corbett's taxpayer-funded mouthpieces have an abundance of excuses why that standard doesn't apply to Corbett.
But, it isn't that simple to explain away Branstetter's contract for "outreach" because in addition to having a contract with the OAG, she also has been on a monthly retainer with the Corbett for Governor campaign since October of 2009...for the very same type of work she's doing at the OAG. (PA DOS Campaign Finance Reports)
The Patriot News recently reported on how conflated Branstetter's consulting on brochures and outreach for the OAG gets with her consulting on brochures and outreach for Corbett for Governor:
"Sandy Segal said he didn’t know what to think when he received the letter this week. The envelope, labeled as coming from 'Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett,' bore the message: 'Please give me your immediate attention.' He opened it to find Corbett was seeking a contribution in his run for governor. Corbett is seeking the Republican nomination. 'It looked like a pretty official kind of letter to me, at least the envelope,' said Segal, 62, of Susquehanna Twp...As for the envelope, [Corbett's taxpayer funded campaign manager Bryan Nutt] said Corbett’s photo, name and title were put on it to make it clear who was sending the letter...'The only problem I got is, here he is convicting these people for merging political activities with their legislative duties,' Segal said. 'Damn, this is the same thing.' (Patriot News 3/31/10)The photo on the campaign mailing wasn't just any photograph of Corbett. A close examination of the photo on the campaign letter shows that it was from the same taxpayer funded "photo shoot" as the one used at the OAG website. It is the same suit, same tie, same wrinkled shirt, same background. It is the same shoot. You can just imagine the taxpayer funded photographer saying, "Look serious." Snap. "Now smile." Snap. Check a comparison out for yourself here. (Credits to twitterer "grabngo")
It is pretty clear as Branstetter was consulting on the production of this campaign mailing that thousands of potential Corbett donors received, when the time came to find a suitable picture she just made a couple clicks of the mouse and came up with a picture of Corbett from her taxpayer funded OAG photo file.
Corbett has been aggressive in saying taxpayer funded contractors like Eric Buxton, Aristotle and GCR are rotten and criminal. He should include Jennifer Branstetter on that list.
Editor's Note: Jennifer Branstetter is the spouse of Bob Branstetter who is partners in the political consulting firm Hallowell, Branstetter and Long. Mike Long joined Hallowell and Branstetter in 2006 and is an as yet un-indicted bonusgate figure from the Republican State Senate Caucus. We have a hunch that close ties between Corbett and the Branstetters (among others) have helped keep Long un-indicted.