State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Wolf and Corbett get into it over raunchy e-mails

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Oct 1, 2014 6:11 PM
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Governor Corbett says his Democratic challenger fired a "cheap shot" by saying he's to blame if state employees exchanged sexually explicit e-mails on state computers.

Neither gubernatorial candidate claims to know for sure if dozens of employees in the Office of Attorney General exchanged raunchy e-mails years ago when Corbett was at the office's helm, but that didn't stop them from jousting about it during a debate.

Democratic challenger Tom Wolf said such e-mails point to a problem with workplace culture, something he says "starts at the top."

"Part of leadership in any organization is setting the tone to say, 'this kind of stuff isn't permissible, it's just out of bounds,'" said Wolf.

Corbett said he was offended by the comment.

"That was a cheap shot," said the governor. He pointed out that, as attorney general, he implemented an office policy against sexually explicit e-mails.

"We had strict rules against it," Corbett said. "And I did not receive any of those emails. I wish they would have sent me one -- wish they would have, because it would have stopped right then and there."

Democratic Attorney General Kathleen Kane, a critic of the Corbett administration, told reporters last week that dozens of state workers traded lewd photos and sexual videos via e-mail on public computers. Her office cannot confirm that any of the implicated employees opened or sent the e-mails.

Meanwhile, a longtime Harrisburg government reform activist is setting up a Post Office box where state employees can anonymously blow the whistle on colleagues who traffic in racy images at work.

Corbett said he's waiting to receive more information about the e-mails from Kane before he makes any decisions regarding implicated employees, two of whom are in his cabinet.

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