One can only assume Pennsylvania Senator Joe Scarnati(R-Jefferson) had the time of his life at the Super Bowl. Not only did Scarnati get to see the big game in Texas, he lived it up on someone else’s dime.
That someone else, is Consol. Consol, headquartered in Canonsburg, is a fortune 500 company that has made its mark in coal, and is now carving out a large footprint in the Marcellus Shale natural gas supply. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Consol paid for Senator Scarnati’s ticket, airfare, and hotel room. Its not clear how much Consol dished out for Scarnati’s sweet weekend, but if he received the standard package, (hotel, airfare ticket), then it would have set Consol back by at least $7,000.
The ties between Scarnati and Consol are adding up, according to Follow The Money, the company and folks affiliated with it have contributed about $20,000 to Scarnati’s campaigns over the past few years.
Scarnati did not return a call to Rock the Capital and neither has his chief of staff, Drew Crompton. Crompton told the Inquirer, that Scarnati might repay Consol for some of the costs. Lawmakers can legally obtain free tickets and airfare as long as they report it, but Rock The Capital’s Eric Epstein says it goes to the core of ethics, or lack thereof.
“Unfortunately, many legislators on both sides of the aisle have not morally evolved and require constant adult supervision. Ethics are not an acquired taste. What we have done in the past is what we are,” said Epstein.
And, while reform is the centerpiece of every second discussion and proposed legislation coming out of Harrisburg; it underscores that reform seems to matter when it impacts someone else’s choices or wallet.
“While the House Republicans are following a PATH to reform, the Senate Republican have stopped at a gas station and filled their tank with entitlements. Everyone understands that big gas demands a return on their investment. That’s why this is a big deal,” said Epstein.
Consol has not returned a call to Rock The Capital. The company released a statement to the Inquirer, which said it “‘had several guests join us at the Super Bowl.” The company apparently declined to identify the other guests.
Scarnati, a Republican, was recently elected to serve his third term as president pro tempore.
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