HARRISBURG - Gov. Tom Corbett has recently disclosed that he took trips in 2011 worth more than $2,300 that were paid for by a Pennsylvania businessman who gave generously to Corbett's campaign and serves on Corbett's privatization council.
Corbett said Thursday at an unrelated news conference that he followed the law by disclosing the trips and said John D. Moran Jr., who heads Watsontown-based Moran Industries, is a friend of four or five years whose family he knows very well. The governor's spokesman, Kevin Harley, said he is not aware of any business that Moran's company has before the state, such as a permit application.
The ethics filing was made belatedly after a clerical error was discovered, Harley said.
"When it was discovered, it was filed," Harley said.
The filing said Moran paid for a five-day trip in July 2011 for Corbett and his wife Susan to Rhode Island valued at $1,423. It also reported trips for Corbett valued at $902 on Moran's private plane and helicopter to events in Williamsport and Pittsburgh on Sept. 30, 2011.
The disclosure was made last month to the State Ethics Commission in an amendment to Corbett's 2011 financial interest statement that he originally submitted in March. StateImpact Pennsylvania/NPR first reported the disclosure Thursday.
Moran did not immediately respond to a telephone message Thursday from The Associated Press, but he told StateImpact that he would not discuss the Rhode Island vacation. Corbett also declined to discuss the Rhode Island vacation, other than saying he stayed on a boat.
Moran Industries is a warehousing and distribution company with facilities throughout central Pennsylvania.
It is no stranger to the state's financial incentives for businesses. At least two of Moran's facilities have benefited from state-sponsored business development zones that offer tax breaks and state documents show that the company received a loan of nearly $2.2 million from the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority before Corbett became governor.
Moran and his wife, Ann, gave Corbett's campaign more than $100,000 since 2009, according to state campaign finance reports posted online.
Corbett last year appointed Moran to an unpaid position on his Governor's Advisory Council on Privatization and Innovation. He also appointed Ann Moran last year to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
Moran co-chairs the Team Pennsylvania Foundation, a not-for-profit business advocacy group that receives state funding.