HARRISBURG – The Republican Party of Pennsylvania filed an ethics complaint against Democrat Katie McGinty today due to her participation in political activity during work hours as Governor Tom Wolf’s Chief of Staff.
“In the middle of Tom Wolf’s budget crisis, Katie McGinty was clearly breaking the rules and working on her political future instead of her taxpayer-funded job,” PA GOP Communications Director Megan Sweeney said. “This is just one more example in a long history of abusing public office for personal gain. It’s no wonder McGinty and Wolf have now spent 15 months refusing to comply with orders from the Office of Open Records and now the Commonwealth Court to release her official emails, when just one email already shows her breaking the rules.”
According to an email released via Wikileaks, on July 17, 2015 – 17 days into Pennsylvania’s historic budget impasse – Katie McGinty emailed Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta to ask for his advice on running for the United States Senate.
Based on that email, Katie McGinty violated the Governor’s Code of Conduct:
In addition, Katie McGinty clearly violated state Guidelines for Political Activity as outlined below:
The full text of the complaint, filed by PA GOP Deputy Communications Director Paul Engelkemier, can be found below:
October 19, 2016
Honorable Sharon Minnich
Office of Administration
207 Finance Building
613 North Street
Harrisburg, PA 17120
COMPLAINT: McGinty Violation of the Governor’s Code of Conduct
Dear Secretary Minnich:
This communication serves as an official complaint against former Chief of Staff Kathleen McGinty for material violation of the Governor’s Code of Conduct (hereinafter referred to as the “Code”).
On October 19, 2016, the website WikiLeaks released a cache of emails sent and received by Hillary Clinton for President Campaign Chairman John Podesta. Among the emails received by Mr. Podesta was a July 17, 2015 message from Kathleen McGinty regarding her potential campaign for United States Senate. The email was sent by Ms. McGinty at 4:08 PM on a Friday.
Section 1(8)(a) of the Code prohibits all state employees from “engag[ing] in any political activity such as campaigning […] during his or her specified working hours,” (emphasis added).
The Office of Administration further defines “political activity” in the Guideline for Political Activity, in part as: “involves running for office or as a delegate.”
Ms. McGinty’s 7/17/15 email to Hillary Clinton’s chief political advisor was designed to solicit specific advice on running for the United States Senate. Although the email was sent from Ms. McGinty’s personal email account, the prohibited activity was transacted during the course of Commonwealth business hours.
I am alarmed that Ms. McGinty – on Day 17 of the Wolf Administration’s budget impasse – would conduct political business rather than perform her duties as Governor Wolf’s Chief of Staff.
In addition, Ms. McGinty appears to have requested Mr. Podesta contact her on a Commonwealth-issued mobile phone. This, too, is an egregious violation of the law since Commonwealth resources are prohibited from being utilized for political activity.
Today’s WikiLeaks revelation of Ms. McGinty’s politically-charged email is another reason Governor Wolf must promptly release all of the former Chief of Staff’s work emails pursuant to the Commonwealth Court order of October 14, 2016. Pennsylvania voters have a right to examine whether Ms. McGinty utilized her Commonwealth email account for political gain.
I request your immediate attention to this matter. Should you have any questions regarding my complaint, please contact me at 717-234-4901.
Republican Party of Pennsylvania
cc: Honorable Tom Wolf