Monday, February 14, 2011

Super Bowl, Super Sleaze

Super Bowl, Super Sleaze

“Super Sleaze.” That’s what WHYY radio in Harrisburg calls PA Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati’s trip to the Super Bowl.1

Sleaze may be a strong word, but we agree. You see, Scarnati’s trip to the Super Bowl was paid for by Consol Energy, one of the biggest natural gas drillers in PA. While the rest of us were content to watch the Super Bowl on TV, Scarnati had his tickets, flight and hotel paid for by Consol Energy.

I guess it’s just coincidence that Scarnati has opposed taxing the extraction of natural gas.
Scarnati is the highest ranking Senator, leading the Republican majority. He should be looking out for Pennsylvania taxpayers, not accepting what many call “legalized bribes.” Pennsylvania is facing a $4 billion budget deficit, and an extraction tax would help in reducing that deficit. PA is the largest only state with significant gas resources that doesn’t have an extraction tax.2

Scarnati’s trip didn’t break any laws, but as WHYY said, it’s still sleazy. It raises questions about whether Scarnati is in the pocket of the natural gas industry. Raising even more questions about his ability to represent taxpayers, Scarnati has also taken $142,000 in campaign contributions from energy interests, including another $15,000 from Consol.3

Scarnati should pay for his Super Bowl trip from his own pocket, reimbursing Consol for everything it paid for his junket. Click here and tell Scarnati to return the money now! Pennsylvania deserves real representation, not “Super Sleaze.”

Michael Morrill
Keystone Progress

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