PA attorney general asks for review of liquor board ethics lapses


By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Three former officials for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board might not yet be in the clear after violating state ethics law.

The state Ethics Commission agreed it would not make a recommendation to outside law enforcement agencies to act on the matter. In this case, though, Attorney General Kathleen Kane has asked Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico to look into whether criminal charges are warranted.

The attorney general asked for the outside review because her husband’s family has a “long-standing business relationship” with the PLCB, said Joe Peters, a spokesmen for Kane.

UNDER REVIEW: Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has asked a district attorney to decide whether ethics lapses within the state Liquor Control Board warrant criminal charges.

Marsico said he occasionally fields such a request because his office would have jurisdiction over the Harrisburg area, he said.

“It’s not common,” he said, “but it can happen.”

According to the Ethics Commission, former PLCB CEO Joe Conti, former Chairman P.J. Stapleton and former marketing director James Short accepted lavish gifts including golf trips, meals and alcohol from vendors doing business with the board and failed to disclose the perks as required by state law.

Asked what criminal charges the violations could warrant, Marsico said, “I’d have to take a good look at it.”

The three former officials will have to pay the state restitution under their agreement with the commission, but some good-government advocates thought the commission should have taken strong action.

Kane’s office might have started that process.

Andrew Staub is a reporter for PA Independent and can be reached at Follow @PAIndependent on Twitter for more.

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