Energy. Environment. Economy.

Ethics Filing Shows Corbett Took Free Vacation from Businessman with Ties to Gas Industry

Patrick Smith / Getty Images

Documents recently filed with the State Ethics Commission show that Governor Corbett and his wife took a free trip to Rhode Island in July 2011, which was paid for by a friend who does business with the natural gas industry.

In July 2011, Governor Corbett took a vacation to Rhode Island that was paid for by a central Pennsylvania businessman with ties to the natural gas drilling industry.

The trip was noted in a November revision to Corbett’s  annual statement of financial interests with the State Ethics Commission. It shows that John Moran, Jr. spent $1,422 on air travel and hotel accommodations for the governor and First Lady Susan Corbett for a long weekend in Rhode Island. Moran also paid $901 to fly the governor on his private plane and helicopter to events in Pittsburgh and Williamsport in September 2011.

According to the governor’s press secretary, Kevin Harley, the Rhode Island trip was a personal vacation. He denied that the governor was trying to hide anything and said it was omitted from the original ethics filing due to a clerical error.

“When the clerk who performs this duty caught it, it was added,” said Harley.

John Moran Jr. heads Moran Industries, a Northumberland County logistics company specializing in trucking, rail, and warehouse facilities. A few months after the Rhode Island trip, Corbett appointed Moran to a 24-member advisory panel he created to look into privatizing state services.

The Sunbury Daily Item reports that around the same time, Moran’s wife Ann was appointed to an unpaid position at the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

Together, the Morans donated more than $75,000 to Corbett’s 2010 run for governor, according to campaign finance records.

This summer, John Moran Jr. was also named co-chair of the Team Pennsylvania Foundation. The organization was established in 1997 as a nonprofit devoted to economic development. It works to build partnerships between business and government.

Governor Corbett is the other co-chair and his office was involved in naming Moran to the unpaid position, along with the foundation’s board.

Moran’s company has been profiled on the Team Pennsylvania’s website:

As he looks to the future of Moran Industries, Moran sees endless opportunities – especially given the company’s proximity to the Marcellus Shale gas play. The company has already constructed eight built-to-suit facilities for companies working with natural gas.

Earlier this year, Moran took another trip with the governor.

He was part of a six-day trade mission to France and Germany, funded by Team Pennsylvania. Part of the trip focused on promoting the Marcellus Shale: 

Moran gave two presentations to foreign government officials and business owners updating them on the value of Marcellus Shale and the logistical advantages of operating a business in the commonwealth.

“The trip was great,” Moran said. “We had very high-level and productive meetings with CEOs and officials in Germany and France. They really rolled out the red carpet for us and were interested in learning more about Pennsylvania and the opportunities that exist here.”

Moran is a friend of the governor and refused to talk about the Rhode Island vacation.

“I don’t discuss my personal life,” he told StateImpact Pennsylvania.

According to the Sun Gazette, before Corbett became governor, Moran’s company invested $11 million in a 2010 project in Williamsport to develop an industrial park for a natural gas-related company. The project received favorable tax breaks under the Rendell administration through the Keystone Opportunity Zone program.

The paper quoted Moran likening the gas industry to “a blessing from God,” but he insists that natural gas-related activities represent less than 10 percent of his business.

Barry Kauffman, executive director of the government reform group Common Cause PA says it was inappropriate for Corbett to accept the free trips.

“We need to actually eliminate those kinds of activities,” Kauffman said. “Common Cause has been pushing for years to eliminate gifts by folks who lobby the state, or who have businesses regulated by the state. We need to make sure that the decisions of our public officials are based on merit.”

Here is Corbett’s revised Statement of Financial Interests:


  • Liz Rosenbaum

    The Gas Industry ought to be required to disclose all their emails and gifts to PA lawmakers along with all the ingredients in their secret sauce. Their recent ‘outing’ of Rep. Jesse White serves as the perfect model. More Sunshine!

    • Jackie Wilson

      marcellusmoney,org, $23 M total.

  • David DeKok

    Basing the value of the flights on the cost of a commercial first class airplane ticket seems deceptive. Wouldn’t it have cost Corbett a whole lot more to charter a private jet for those flights?

    • lscotthoover

      everything is cheaper if you let someone else pay for it and gift them with more status. sleazy? yes. cheaper? not in the long run.

  • Julieann Wozniak

    We already knew this, didn’t we? Given that candidate Corbett was bought and paid for by the coal and gas industries, to the detriment of the taxpayers. Nothing illustrates this fact like the elderly Fayette County farmer who was steamrollered by a gas pipeline company and is still being denied justice by a corrupt legal system. Corruption, alas, is an unfortunate tradition in Pennsylvania politics, from which there is no escape.

  • Lee

    Everyone in the gas industry is a friend of Tom’s

  • Janis O’Donnell

    This man has complete contempt for the citizens of PA. I thought I was miserable with George Allen being governor of VA when I lived there. This guy doesn’t even talk with the public. He’s a shameful mess.

  • Vicki

    We all know what Corbett is and does. he’s a bum and needs to go. He has deep pockets and gets paid well, not only from us but from others. Wait till he sells out the seniors…the bum.

  • Victoria Adams

    So will Rep. Stan Saylor be calling for an ‘investigation’ of Corbett, or is he just another hypocritical partisan hack?

  • smintheus

    We already knew that Corbett is in the gas industry’s pocket. This tells us how cheaply he can be bought. What a disaster for the state, and a gift to his friends, if he gets to privatize what he’s aiming to privatize.

  • basile
    • basile

      Look at what he has done for two other contributors above.

  • Dennis S.

    Way to go Gov. No tax for gas companies removing our natural resource but, you can still take advantage of it though. Our legislators aren’t much better; see if I vote for Republicans again. I can’t wait to vote for someone else.

  • Alan Croasdale

    Tom Corbett is another bought & paid for politician for the wealthy! We are governed by the rich, for the rich! They really will never be able to have enough money in their pockets! We’re headed toward “The Hunger Games”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Eugene Fitzgerald

    The next election can’t come soon enough. I wonder how many “gifts” Corbett received for outsourcing our lottery.

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »