ICYMI: Washington Free Beacon: Katie McGinty Took Taxpayer-Funded Trip to Boston in Final Weeks at Gov’t Post

Met with executive at company that has never done business with Pennsylvania

“The Department of Environmental Protection just confirmed that Katie McGinty clearly used  taxpayer dollars to fund her personal job search. When Katie McGinty wanted to take a trip through the revolving door between the public and private sectors, she made sure she left Pennsylvania’s taxpayers stuck with the bill. Katie McGinty’s actions are a sign of blatant disrespect to  taxpayers, and she owes Pennsylvanians an explanation for her shady actions.” – PA GOP Communications Director Megan Sweeney

Katie McGinty Took Taxpayer-Funded Trip to Boston in Final Weeks at Gov’t Post
Met with executive at company that has never done business with Pennsylvania
The Washington Free Beacon
Brent Scher
September 21, 2016

Just weeks before Katie McGinty resigned from Pennsylvania’s top environmental post she took a taxpayer-funded trip to Boston to meet with an executive at a green energy firm that did no business in Pennsylvania.

Internal email records show that McGinty, who quickly entered the private sector and made millions after leaving government, spent her final months in office traveling for meetings that did little to help Pennsylvania but were still billed to the taxpayers.

The Washington Free Beacon reported last month that McGinty traveled to San Francisco on the public dime to meet with partners at the green energy venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins as well as three of its “portfolio companies.” None of the companies she visited did any business in Pennsylvania, but McGinty expressed her hope that at least one would put her on its board of directors.

Newly discovered emails show that this was not McGinty’s only costly trip to a Kleiner Perkins company in her final days in government.

McGinty took a $1,063 flight from Philadelphia to Boston on June 25, 2008, just weeks before her July resignation, according to flight records kept in Pennsylvania’s state archive.

The sole meeting scheduled on her quick trip was in Cambridge, Massachusetts with Dan Goldman, president of GreatPoint Energy, another green energy company in the Kleiner Perkins portfolio that did no business in Pennsylvania.

McGinty’s official schedule shows that she held a meeting with staff to discuss “Dan G’s BD position” the morning after she returned from Boston.


The briefing material prepared by McGinty’s staff for her meeting with Goldman included biographies of GreatPoint’s board members and information about the company’s technology.

Nothing in Goldman’s bio indicated that he was eager to invest in Pennsylvania—he spent decades making energy partnerships in Asia, which was exactly where GreatPoint ended up investing. Just a few months after Goldman’s meeting with McGinty, GreatPoint announced the launch of a major coal gasification project in China that resulted in $1.25 billion worth of investment in the country.

A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection told the Free Beacon that the agency has not done business with GreatPoint or any of the companies she met with in California.

“There currently are not and were not any contracts between DEP and the companies you asked about, going back to 2007,” said Neil Shader, the agency’s press secretary. “Questions about the meetings themselves would have to be directed to McGinty.”

The McGinty campaign was unable to explain the purpose of the trip.

The campaign initially issued the same statement that it issued the last time McGinty’s use of taxpayer funds was questioned by the Free Beacon.

“As Environmental Secretary, Katie’s job was to work with energy companies around the country to invest in Pennsylvania,” McGinty spokesman Sean Coit said.

After being informed that DEP disclosed to the Free Beacon that it never did business with any of the companies McGinty met with, Coit said that not all of her meetings were successful.

“Katie worked to recruit dozens of energy companies to invest in Pennsylvania. Not every single company she met with ended up investing in Pennsylvania,” Coit said. “Many did, bringing in $1 billion in investments and 3,000 jobs.”

GreatPoint Energy did not respond to a request for comment on the purpose of the meeting.

McGinty was not shy about discussing her interest in a board position even when she held her post with the DEP.

In an email sent from her government account, McGinty told her former boss Al Gore, a senior partner at Kleiner Perkins, that she hoped her meeting with the CEO of California-based Ausra Energy would lead to a board appointment.

Barry Kauffman, executive director of the government accountability group Common Cause Pennsylvania, said it is not uncommon for government officials to use public funds to go job hunting, but that does not mean it is appropriate behavior.

“Pennsylvanians deserve to have confidence that their public officials are in fact working for their interests and not beginning to feather the beds for their next jobs,” said Kauffman.

“If in fact this was just a schmoozing meeting, then it was inappropriate. If she was superficially doing state business but her real agenda was to find her next job—then it was clearly inappropriate,” Kauffman said. “That’s an assessment the public has to make.”

Kauffman took issue with the fact that McGinty spent over $1,000 on a meeting that likely could have been held over the phone.

“Public officials have an obligation to find the most cost beneficial way of conducting business—so if they could have that meeting on the telephone, then by all means that is the way to do it,” Kauffman said.

Sen. Pat Toomey, McGinty’s Republican opponent, said examples of McGinty using taxpayer dollars inappropriately are becoming commonplace.

“Katie McGinty is notorious for using taxpayer dollars to further her own interests, and was even rebuked unanimously by the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission,” Toomey spokesman Ted Kwong said. “The troubling examples of how she spent the taxpayers’ money continue, and McGinty owes Pennsylvanians an explanation.”

To read the full story by Brent Scher, please click here.