Rock the Capital has been following the story of the Financial Enforcement Section (FES) a little known department within the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office and it’s former head, Thomas Kimmett. During Governor Tom Corbett’s tenure as the Attorney General this department was grossly mismanaged. Thomas Kimmett, who is both an attorney and an account, was recruited from the Department of Revenue by the Attorney General’s office under AG Corbett to restructure the FES. However, Mr. Kimmett contends his proposals were not allowed to take effect. The FES lost Pennsylvanians’ millions of dollars as it continued its long-time practices to unfairly reward private companies with political connections and ultimately cost Mr. Kimmett his job and possibly his career, leading him to file a “whistle blower” lawsuit in United States Federal Court.
For over a year Rock the Capital’s staff has been reviewing court documents, depositions, filing right to know requests, and conducting personal interviews. Every Tuesday for the next month we will post an installment of this under reported story.
We feel this is an important story because:
- This episode offers insight into Governor Corbett’s management style. Political allies were richly rewarded and as the states chief law enforcement officer Corbett who touts his hands on management, under oath in a taped deposition, states he does not recollect facts pertaining to this case a remarkable 35 times. If this is how Corbett managed one department with responsibility for millions of state dollars how is he really managing the state as Governor?
- In 1981 the Office of Attorney General was removed from the executive branch and became an independent elected position with the intent of cracking down on corruption. However, the office is now a political stepping-stone and its independence has to be put into question. The first Attorney General elected to this position still is exerting great influence on the office and a firm associated with him has earned fees of hundreds of thousands if not millions of taxpayer dollars, some possibly in violation of their contract with the FES.
- Perhaps the most important and worrisome aspect of this case is the assault on civil liberties. The Federal Magistrate ruled in the first part of Mr. Kimmett’s lawsuit not against Mr. Kimmett’s facts or veracity but against his very right of free speech the essence of which whistle blower protection is derived.
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