Thursday, July 22, 2010

Stateline on AGs Running for Office has a good article on the difficulties state Attorneys General can face when running for office. ("On campaign trail, attorneys general walk a fine line," by John Gramlich, 7/21). Republican Tom Corbett, current Pennsylvania Attorney General and candidate for governor, is mentioned:

In Pennsylvania, Republican Attorney General Tom Corbett has been leading a months-long criminal investigation into campaign work allegedly done by state legislative employees on the taxpayers’ dime. The scandal, dubbed “Bonusgate” because of the taxpayer-funded bonuses reportedly paid out for the campaigning, has helped Corbett cultivate an image as a law-and-order reformer as he runs for governor. But it also has attracted negative attention to his campaign, particularly after his office tried, as part of its investigation, to subpoena a pair of Twitter users who have been critical of Corbett in anonymous online postings.

Democratic Pennsylvania gubernatorial nominee Dan Onorato accused Corbett of using his office to bully political opponents, while labor unions and other groups have called on the attorney general to step down while he runs for governor. Corbett, however, has flatly rejected the notion.

“The people of Pennsylvania elected me to be the attorney general,” he said in an interview with Stateline in April. Resigning, he said, would go against the will of the electorate. He also noted that in Pennsylvania, “it’s not a tradition and it’s not a law” for attorneys general to step down when they run for governor.

Interestingly, today the Philadelphia Inquirer ran an editorial calling for Corbett to resign ("Time to step away,"). It starts out:
Attorney General Tom Corbett should quit his day job and focus on running for governor.

It's nearly impossible lately for the public to separate Corbett's law enforcement duties from his role as the GOP nominee for governor. Increasingly, his actions as attorney general are tinged with political ramifications for the November election.

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