Pennsylvania

Energy. Environment. Economy.

Senior DEP official invested in natural gas industry

Jeffrey Logan is DEP's  Executive Deputy Secretary for Administration and Management.

Jeffrey Logan is DEP's Executive Deputy Secretary for Administration and Management.

For several years a high-ranking official at the state Department of Environmental Protection invested his personal money in the natural gas industry.

Jeffrey Logan was appointed to be the DEP’s Executive Deputy Secretary for Administration and Management by Governor Corbett in January 2011. Since then, ethics filings show Logan held several natural gas investments, including Cabot Oil and Gas, a natural gas index fund, and Westport Innovations — a major supplier of natural gas vehicle engines.

Logan did not answer questions for this story. DEP spokesman Eric Shirk tells StateImpact Pennsylvania the department does not view the investments as a conflict of interest.

“[Logan] deals with administration and management issues such as HR, budget issues and information technology among other things,” Shirk wrote in an email. “He does not issue or review permits, he does not issue fines, penalties or conduct investigations, he does not award grants.”

“He no longer has the holdings”

As a member of the executive branch, Logan is required to submit two types of financial disclosure forms each year– one to the state Ethics Commission, and another (more detailed) Governor’s Code of Conduct form, which requires him to list investments.

It’s not clear how much money he was investing. Forms requested under the state’s Right To Know Law were heavily redacted.

“Because Logan wanted to avoid even the appearance of a conflict – he no longer has the holdings,” Shirk wrote.

Logan no longer has any natural gas-related investments, according to the DEP. Shirk says Logan bought the natural gas index fund in 2010, before he joined the department, and sold it in August 2012, after he’d been in the job for over a year and a half. Logan invested in Westport during his time at DEP, from April 2012 through August 2012.

Logan bought Cabot stock in 2010, but Shirk gave conflicting accounts of when he sold it. It was either August 2011 or sometime in 2012.

Shirk did not respond to a request for clarification.

“It’s a conflict of interest”

“Anytime an agency charged with regulating an industry has people investing in the same industry, it is a conflict of interest, whether real or perceived,” says government reform advocate Eric Epstein of Rock the Capital.  ”One of the problems with the ethics law in Pennsylvania is that it has no teeth.”

Even though Logan may not have dealt directly with gas companies, he could have had access to information that was not public, says Barry Kauffman of the government reform group Common Cause Pennsylvania.

“We want to make sure public officials aren’t getting insider information which could help them with their investments,” he says. “Anybody at a senior level of an agency like DEP should not be investing in companies over which that department has authority.”

Logan previously served as a deputy secretary at the Department of State and the Department of Public Welfare under Governor Ridge. He is married to another Corbett appointee, Office of Administration Secretary Kelly Powell Logan.

 

Comments

  • debra haddix

    That’s not surprising

  • KeepTapWaterSafe

    When Corbett and his PA DEP appointees are finished making a mockery of democracy in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, we will have no clean water left. These people belong in jail.

  • jp

    Cusick is on the hunt for the smoking gun again

  • CitizenSane1

    Pennsylvania has, without any reasonable doubt, the most corrupt government and regulatory agencies dirty money can buy. This administration is a complete disgrace and an embarrassment to the people of PA. The sooner we clean the legislative house, the better.

  • Victoria Switzer

    Senator has leased land, dep inspector is leased, etc. “conflict of interest”? PA certainly is corrupt but it is the sum of its parts. If we are complicit then we are part of the problem. Please be a part of the solution. Demand better next election and make a lot of noise getting there!

  • The_White_Rabbit

    What a pile of BS!!! You cannot be this ****ing stupid even as a lower level member of PADEP. The only ones more ignorant than this person that thinks this is fine are the people that are justifying this stupidity.

  • crismcconkey

    Please god help me not to become a complete cynic. This is what it is like to live in a corporate state. Regulatory agencies whether at the state or federal levels are now so intertwined with industry that regulators can’t even see a blatant conflict of interest. There is no conflict of interest if the interest of the regulators align with the interest of industry? Was it Thomas Jefferson who said “God help us if we don’t have a revolution every twenty years”? Actually I just Googled. The proper quote is “God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion”, referring to the Shays’ Rebellion. Maybe I can regain some faith my studying my own county’s political history.
    .

  • Brenda Baker

    Are we such lambs that we believe any of this…..wonder hmmmmmm..what name these investmens were changed to?

  • dfpa

    Apple does not fall far from the tree. He’s a Corbett stooge and just like the boss he’s in the pocket of the Nat Gas industry.

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