Gov. Tom Corbett (R-PA)

Pennsylvania’s Republican Governor Tom Corbett has been an ally to Big Business and the rich —  subsidizing private schools, cutting taxes on the rich, and opening up more land for gas drilling.

An investigation published this morning by the Philadelphia Inquirer finds one reason why:  since he ran in 2010, lobbyists and corporations have given over $11,000 in gifts and perks to Corbett and his wife. Here are a few of them:

  • $2,500 tickets to the  Philadelphia Academy of Music anniversary concert: These tickets came courtesy of the Blank Rome law firm, which represents gas drillers among others.
  • Expensive flights on private jets: Frank Schoeneman, chief executive of the Pottsville-based Empire Education Group, flew Corbett on a private jet to an event in Pittsburgh, for a cost of $1,407.
  • Buying the first lady a pricey gown: The chief executive of Aegis Security Insurance donated $1,800 for the cost of Mrs. Corbett’s inaugural gown and coat.

Pennsylvania law technically bars donors from giving anything to a public official that would guarantee a quid-pro-quo — meaning that if Corbett were to explicitly guarantee anything in return for these gifts, he’d be breaking the law. But it does not ban gift-giving.

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