PA Gov. Rocked By News Of Ex-Staffers’ Hardcore Porn Email Trove

AP

Pennsylvania’s Democratic attorney general made a seriously NSFW accusation on Thursday about some staffers who worked for Gov. Tom Corbett (R).

Attorney General Kathleen Kane reportedly gave local journalists a look at a series of sexually explicit emails, videos and photos that she said were circulated on state computers by staffers who worked for Corbett during his time as the state’s attorney general.

Among the content, according to the Philadelphia Daily News, was a video of a woman masturbating with a lit cigar. Another video reportedly showed a man dressed as a race-car driver uncorking a bottle of champagne and inserting it into a woman’s vagina.

Some of those who allegedly sent and received the content, according to the newspaper, have gone on to high-ranking jobs in Corbett’s gubernatorial administration, including the state’s police commissioner and its secretary of environmental protection.

Corbett is currently running for re-election as governor. The TPM Polltracker average on Friday showed him trailing his Democratic challenger, Tom Wolf, by 18.2 percent.

A spokesperson for Corbett said on Thursday that the governor saw the emails as “unacceptable,” according to the Harrisburg Patriot-News newspaper.

“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 spokesperson said, according to the newspaper.

The way the content came to light seemed to include a surreal series of events in recent days.

The Patriot-News reported that Kane’s office said the images were uncovered during an internal review of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case.

Earlier in the week, Kane’s office declined requests by reporters to view the emails. But Kane apparently changed her mind, and the office allowed reporters to view the images on Thursday, according to the Patriot-News.

Select reporters were allowed to view a sampling of the emails at Kane’s office under the supervision of two armed agents, one who displayed the images on his laptop while the other stood guard at the door, according to The Philadelphia Daily News.

The Patriot-News reported that the release of the emails was seen by some as a politically-motivated attack on Corbett.

Additionally, it appears to be another incident in a long battle between the Democratic Kane and the predominantly Republican staffers who ran the office before Kane’s tenure, according to the paper.

When Kane took office, her investigation into Corbett’s handling of the Sandusky prosecution offended many within the former Attorney General’s office, according to the the Patriot-News.

In March, the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper reported that former Corbett staffers revealed that Kane dropped an investigation into an undercover sting that allegedly involved Philadelphia lawmakers accepting cash gifts from an undercover officer who posed as a lobbyist.

And in September, the Inquirer reported that Kane’s staffers were subpoenaed in an investigation into possible grand jury material leaks.

Kane spokeswoman Renee George Martin explained the release of the emails to the Patriot-News on Thursday.

“Attorney General Kane believes it is in the public’s best interest to have a good understanding of how its public servants conduct their business,” Martin said, according to the paper. “She also believes transparency on this issue is a very good way to help ensure that the exchanging of sexually explicit materials through internal emails on state-owned equipment, during official work hours, doesn’t happen elsewhere.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ahiza Garcia is a newswriter based in New York City. Before joining TPM, Ahiza interned and freelanced for Nightline, Fox Sports, and ESPN the Magazine. She holds a B.A. in psychology from Columbia University and an M.S. in digital journalism from Syracuse University. She can be reached at ahiza@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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