Friday, June 4, 2010

Delaware County citizens call for Tom Corbett to resign


Residents say that Corbett has compromised the integrity of the Office of Attorney General by politicizing the office

Media, Pennsylvania—Outside the Delaware County Court House today, local health care activists called for Attorney General Tom Corbett to drop his participation in a lawsuit against the health care reform law recently enacted in Washington and then resign from office. Members of Health Care For America Now, the Pennsylvania Health Access Network, and Pennsylvania Communities Organizing for Change claimed that Corbett’s lawsuit against health care reform, and other actions he had taken, had so politicized the Attorney General’s office that the integrity of Mr. Corbett and his entire staff were now in question.

“At a time when Pennsylvanians, including small businesses, people with serious pre-existing medical conditions, and young people under 26 are seeing immediate benefits from the health care reform legislation, it is deeply troubling that our Attorney General is using taxpayer funds to have the law declared unconstitutional,” said Bill West, a member of Health Care For America Now (HCAN).

Marc Stier, Executive Director of Penn Action and State Director of HCAN said that “Mr. Corbett’s lawsuit is clearly inspired by politics and nothing else. He planned to take part in the lawsuit long before the legislation was enacted and used the lawsuit to help raise funds for his campaign for governor.1 He coordinated his actions with Republican political organizations, including the Republican State Leadership Committee. And, given that Mr. Corbett has been prosecuting other politicians for using the resources of their office for political purposes, it is especially upsetting that attorneys from his office conducted discussions with national political organizations in planning his participation in the lawsuit. “

Stier added that, “We discovered this when the Wisconsin Attorney General released political emails sent to and from Mr. Corbett’s subordinates. But we don’t have complete information because the Attorney General’s office has failed to comply with two Open Records Requests made under the Right to Know Law by our partner Keystone Progress.

Carole Burnett, a Chester member of Pennsylvania Communities Organizing for Change, said that “The Attorney General’s office should be above politics and partisan dispute. Tom Corbett has clearly shown, in his lawsuit against the health care reform law and in other actions, such as his recent subpoena to have Twitter to reveal the identities of two of his critics; that he is willing to use his office for political purposes. He should resign.”

Stier concluded that, “We are confident that Corbett’s lawsuit will go nowhere. So it is a complete waste of tax revenues to pursue it. But if it were to be successful, Corbett’s lawsuit would not only call into question the recently passed health care reform legislation but would also threaten Social Security and Medicare. Corbett needs to explain to Pennsylvania taxpayers why he is pursuing a lawsuit that is, if not wasteful, then a positive danger to popular programs on which we all count.”