Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s Staffers Allegedly Circulated Pornographic Emails

Last week, the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office released a slew of sexually explicit emails, pictures and videos that had been discovered in email exchanges between eight staffers of Republican Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett. The imagery was allegedly circulated when Corbett still served as the state’s attorney general, a position he left in January 2011 when he was elected governor. Corbett, who is currently running for re-election, claims he had no knowledge of the emails at the time and that while he was told about “inappropriate” emails in May, he hasn’t seen the imagery in question. Attorney general Kathleen Kane, whose team made the discovery, initially refused to share the explicit emails with the public but eventually allowed a select few journalists to view the footage in the company of armed agents.

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, the content included a video of a woman masturbating with a lit cigar and another with a bowling pin. In one video, a man dressed like a race-car driver inserts an uncorked bottle of champagne into a woman’s vagina. A series of pornographic spoofs of motivational posters were found as well, one of which showed two women performing oral sex for a guy at a desk with the caption: “Devotion: making your boss happy is your only job.” Another shows a woman having anal sex with dude at his desk with and is captioned: “Resourcefulness: Taking advantage of every opening.” Ugh.

The Daily News also shared that five of the staffers who allegedly circulated the content took on high-ranking jobs when Corbett became governor — like State Police Commissioner, Department of Environmental Protection Secretary and a former Press Secretary who ironically is now an advisor on Corbett’s re-election campaign. In fact, the motivational poster spoofs were found in the police commissioners inbox — not exactly the behavior you’d prefer from your local police force at their work desks, is it?

The images were reportedly found during an internal review of how Corbett’s office handled the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case during his days as attorney general. Kane was trying to determine why it took Corbett’s team a full year to recommend charges against Sandusky once the truth of his abusive behavior came out. Kane discovered that basic investigative steps like searching Sandusky’s home hadn’t been taken, but she found no evidence that Corbett intentionally slowed down Sandusky’s case for political gain.

From the way the story presents itself, it sounds a lot like attorney general staffers may have been spending their work hours looking at porn back in early 2010 when Sandusky, by then a known child abuser, was walking free. During that year before he was charged, Sandusky’s victims continued to suffer, waiting for justice. Obviously, I can’t say for sure whether that’s what happened, but no matter what cases were ongoing when the images were accessed, the Pennsylvania citizens that the office was supposed to be seeking justice for lost out on the staff’s undivided attention because of porn, and that’s pretty damn ridiculous.

A rep for Corbett told the Harrisburg Patriot-News that “the images described in the accounts are unacceptable and have no place in the work environment. The Governor’s expectation of those who work for him is that they perform with the utmost professionalism, and that they are guided by high ethical standards beyond reproach…The governor wants the facts, and we are working very hard to get the facts in front of us so that we can determine next steps.” Corbett doesn’t want to draw any final conclusions about without more context, though I’m not sure what he means by “the facts” since the evidence somewhat speaks for itself. Kane’s office is unable to prove that the emails have actually been read by their recipients, nor can they offer much information about the source of the images, but it seems pretty clear that someone should be fired. Better yet, instead of terminating shitty government employees at the first sign of scandal (since scandal happens so often that we’ve established a routine by now), why not put better people into public office in the first place? Unfortunately, in a world where corruption is uncovered so frequently that we barely even blink when we hear of it, such a simple solution seems like the toughest course of action.

[NBC News]
[Harrisburg Patriot-News]
[Philadelphia Daily News]
[Talking Points Memo]

[Image via Getty]