He served two stints as Pennsylvania’s Attorney General. In 1995, Governor Tom Ridge appointed Corbett to serve out Ernie Preate’s term, after the Republican AG was convicted on corruption charges. Following Pennsylvania tradition, Corbett declined to seek full term in 1996. He ran in 2004, though, winning a close race against Democrat Jim Eisenhower.
Corbett gained public attention in 2007 by launching an investigation into corruption at the state Capitol. Dubbed “Bonusgate,” the probe led to the arrest of six state representatives and 19 staffers. Four people, including former House Minority Whip Mike Veon, have been convicted, six have pleaded guilty, and two have been found “not guilty.”
Corbett ran for reelection in 2008, and won a decisive victory.
He announced his campaign for governor in late 2009, and defeated Representative Sam Rohrer by a 38-point margin in the May 2010 Republican primary. After a relatively low-key general election, Corbett topped Democrat Dan Onorato by nine points.
Corbett has lived most of his life in Shaler, Allegheny County. He’s married to Susan, and has two children: Tom and Katherine. Corbett graduated from Lebanon Valley College and St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio. He served as United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania in the late 1980s and early 90s.
On energy issues, Corbett is committed to growing Pennsylvania’s natural gas drilling industry. In his March 2011 budget address, Corbett said, “Let’s make Pennsylvania the hub of this [drilling] boom. Just as the oil companies decided to headquarter in one of a dozen states with oil, let’s make Pennsylvania the Texas of the natural gas boom. I’m determined that Pennsylvania not lose this moment. We have the chance to get it.” Corbett flat-out opposed to a severance tax – in fact he’s promised to forgo all tax increases throughout his tenure as governor. He did, however, support the “impact fee,” included in Act 13. The Republican received more than $900,000 in contributions from the drilling industry during the 2010 campaign, though energy companies gave money to his opponent, Dan Onorato, as well.
During his time as State Attorney General and Governor, Tom Corbett and his wife Susan, took thousands of dollars in gifts from an influential Philadelphia law firm whose clients include oil, gas, and chemical companies fighting state and federal environmental regulators.
According to a StateImpact analysis of the couple’s ethics filings, the law firm Blank Rome LLP has given them $15,447 in gifts since 2007.
After Corbett was elected Governor, he appointed a former partner from Blank Rome, Michael Krancer, to head the state Department of Environmental Protection. Krancer worked at the firm prior to 1999, when he was named as a judge on the state’s Environmental Hearing Board by Governor Tom Ridge. Krancer recently announced he was leaving the DEP to work once again for Blank Rome, as the chair of the firm’s Energy, Petrochemical and Natural Resources Practice, where he will be, “enhancing the firm’s existing energy and public policy talent and advising US and global energy clients,” according to a Blank Rome press release.