Tom Corbett

From Ballotpedia
Revision as of 07:14, 9 December 2012 by Maresa Strano (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search
Tom Corbett
Tom Corbett.jpg
Governor of Pennsylvania
In office
2011 - Present
Years in position 4
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 2, 2010
Next general2014
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Pennsylvania Attorney General
1995-1997, 2004 - 2010
Bachelor'sLebanon Valley College
J.D.St. Mary's University School (1975)
Military service
Service/branchCaptain, Pennsylvania Army National Guard
Years of service1971-1984
Office website
Personal website
Campaign website
Tom Corbett (born 1949) is the current Republican Governor of Pennsylvania, as he was voted into office in the November 2, 2010 gubernatorial election.[1] Corbett vacated his position as Attorney General of Pennsylvania upon assuming the governorship in January 2011. Though he was first elected attorney general in 2004, Corbett had previously held the office from 1995-1997. He was appointed interim attorney general by then-Governor Tom Ridge to finish the unexpired term of Ernie Preate, who resigned after being convicted of mail fraud.[1]


Corbett has a bachelor's degree from Lebanon Valley College, and a law degree from St. Mary's University School in San Antonio, Texas. He served in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard 28th Infantry Division from 1971 to 1984. During that time, he was able to achieve the rank of captain. Shortly after graduating from law school in 1975, he worked as an assistant district attorney in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Corbett was chosen in 1980 to act as an assistant to the United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, a role he maintained for three years.[1]

After returning to Pennsylvania and private practice, he entered the state's political stage for the first time, winning the election for township commissioner in Shaler Township, Pennsylvania. His skills and experience within the legal profession were recognized nationally when President George H. W. Bush appointed him United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania in 1988; he remained there until midway through Bill Clinton's first year in office.

Following his resignation, he again returned to private practice in Pennsylvania, while simultaneously serving as an advisor to Tom Ridge's successful 1994 gubernatorial campaign. In the wake of Ridge's victory, Corbett worked on a number of state commissions, including the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Deliquency where he served as chairman. When he was appointed by ridge to fill the vacancy of state Attorney General left behind by the scandal-plagued Ernest Preate in 1995, he was required by the State Senate Democrats to sign a pledge that said he would not run for re-election the next year, a common practice in the state of Pennsylvania for appointments to elected offices.[1]

Leaving office in 1997, he returned to the private sector by starting his own practice, Thomas Corbett and Associates, one he kept in operation until 2004. That same year he served as the general counsel for Waste Management.[1]. Corbett's professional background also includes teaching civics and history in Pine Grove Area High School in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.[1]


  • Bachelor's degree, Lebanon Valley College
  • Juris Doctorate degree, St. Mary's University Law School (1975)

Political career

Governor of Pennsylvania 2011-present

Corbett was elected the 46th governor of Pennsylvania in the November 2, 2010 general election. He was sworn into office on January 18th, 2011.[1]

Approval ratings

Although Corbett is not up for election until 2014, several polls were conducted in the months leading up to the 2012 general election to gauge the people of Pennsylvania's opinion of their governor. The thousands of likely Pennsylvania voters who were surveyed between mid to late September reported an average 32% approval rating, while approximately 45% of respondents disapprove of the job he is doing.[2]

Approval Rating of Governor Tom Corbett
Poll Approve DisapproveDon't Know or NAMargin of ErrorSample Size
Muhlenberg College PA Poll
(September 10-16, 2012)
Quinnipiac University Poll
(September 18-24, 2012)
Franklin and Marshall Poll
(September 18-23, 2012)
AVERAGES 32% 45% 23.33% +/-3.6 817.33
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to


Presidential preference


See also: Endorsements by state officials of presidential candidates in the 2012 election

Tom Corbett endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. [3]

Liquor privatization

Corbett voiced his support for the privatization of the 61 state liquor stores before he assumed his position as Governor of Pennsylvania. He joined State House Republicans, including the new Majority Leader, Mike Turzai. [4]

Sandusky scandal

When Corbett left the attorney general's office in 2011, he appointed Linda Kelly (R) to serve as his replacement for the remainder of his term, ending in January 2013. When Kelly was sworn in on May 24, 2011, she assumed leadership of the state's high profile investigation into former Penn State football coach and eventual convicted sex-offender Jerry Sandusky's, who was charged with 45 counts of sexual abuse committed between 1994 and 2009.

Originating during Corbett's rein as attorney general in late 2009, the case's disturbing revelations about Sandusky reverberated far beyond the boundaries of Penn State's campus, inciting an onslaught of emotional pleas to the state to deliver swift justice, so to begin the healing process. Despite the mounting pressure from the public and press to advance the investigation to trial as quickly as possible, the Pennsylvania attorney general's office, which oversaw the case, proceeded with caution instead of urgency. The case spent two years in controversial gestation under Corbett - and then Kelly - before charges were brought against Sandusky in Novemeber, 2011.[5] After a fraught stage of suspended grief, Sandusky's victims and betrayed fans got the pace they wanted, with the case going from grand jury presentment to trial in a short seven months.[6]

On June 22, 2012, a jury convicted Sandusky of 45 out of the 48 counts of sex abuse for which he was indicted, including 25 felonies and 20 misdemeanors. After the verdict was delivered, Kelly said was confident Sandusky received a fair trial, notwithstanding the hurried pace of the proceedings, and the defense's request for a mistrial following the prosecution's exposure of an erroneously incriminating interview Sandusky did with Bob Costas - "The commonwealth expects to prevail on any appeal, and as far as the timing, the judge made it clear from the beginning to all the parties that he intended to move this case along quickly," Kelly said on CNN.[7] Defense Attorney Joe Amendola tried to withdraw from the case on account of the trial's unusually expeditious time-frame. Echoing Kelly's defense of the trial's sprint to conclusion, and the dismissed mistrial, Corbett said that he expected these issues to manifest in future appeals, but ultimately, the jury's decision was tipped by the "compelling testimony of these now young men who were young boys who suffered at the hands of this pedophile.”[8] Despite Corbett's repeated assurances that the attorney general's office did everything properly in handling the case, suspicions remained about his performance overseeing the case as attorney general, and his continued involvement as governor. Whether or not the handing of the case should be reviewed further was a dominant issue in the 2012 attorney general race. Both major party candidates, David Freed (R) and Kathleen Kane (D), say they would review the office's, and Corbett's, performance leading the Sandusky investigation if elected.

Sandusky Scandal

Do you think the way the Sandusky case was investigated by Governor Tom Corbett when he was Attorney General should be reviewed further, or not?
Poll Yes NoDo not knowMargin of ErrorSample Size
Franklin and Marshall Poll
(September 18-23, 2012)
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

How would you rate the way Governor Corbett handled the Sandusky case when he was Attorney General?
Poll Good to excellent job Fair jobPoor jobDo not knowMargin of ErrorSample Size
Franklin and Marshall Poll
(September 18-23, 2012)
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

Forced pooling

On the day Corbett took the oath of office as governor, critics gathered on the front steps. They were opposing the threat of forced natural gas pooling laws, which they claim will be on the agenda in the new legislative session.Gene Stilp, a local political activist who organized Tuesday's protest, said the legalization of forced pooling would be a violation of constitutionally guaranteed property rights.

"Sure, they'll give you something for it, some kind of monetary compensation, but the idea here is that it is a diminution of our constitutional rights to property," said Stilp. "It lays open the property rights of all Pennsylvanians." Stilp equated forced pooling to "subterranean eminent domain." Range Resources is one of the largest gas companies operating in Pennsylvania and one of the companies people like Stilp are protesting. Matt Pitzarella, spokesperson for Range Resources, said the pooling can benefit property owners by allowing for more efficient extraction of gas.

"The reason why we want it is for the sake of consistency, so we can maximize the amount of gas that we can drain, which means more money for the people who own the property and leased it to us," said Pitzarella. "We can plan farther in advance with the wells we will need to drill and the pipelines we will need to lay."

House Republicans spokesperson Steve Miskin said the forced pooling bill was only one of many issues relating to natural gas drilling which lawmakers will address in the coming months.[9]

Attorney General of Pennsylvania 2005-2011

Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")

See also: State Attorneys General Against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010

In the wake of the historic passage of President Barack Obama's health care reform legislation on Christmas Eve in 2009, Corbett was one of ten Republican Attorneys General questioning not only the constitutionality of a specific controversial provision within the Senate version of the bill, but also exploring potential legal challenges to the measure as well. The stipulation in question was the back room deal Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid struck with Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson to recruit him as the 60th vote needed to pass the measure, an arrangement "dubbed the "Nebraska Compromise" or the "Cornhusker Kickback" by GOP critics." The agreement gives Nebraska exemption from its share of the Medicaid expansion, "a carve out that is expected to cost the federal government $100 million over 10 years." Corbett tweeted that he was "analyzing [the] constitutionality of [the] "Nebraska Compromise" in health care bill." [10]

On the same morning President Barack Obama signed into law his controversial health care reform bill, the one that narrowly passed the United States House of Representatives just two days before, Corbett and twelve other Attorneys General, all but one being Republican, filed suit against "the federal government to stop the massive health care overhaul, claiming it's unconstitutional." [11] His office, however, "did not detail the specific legal grounds he might cite in arguing against the legislation." [12]

Illegal immigration

Nearly two weeks after the United States Justice Department filed suit against the state of Arizona over its anti-illegal immigration law, Senate Bill 1070 - The Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (SB 1070), contending that it "interferes with federal immigration responsibilities," Corbett joined eight other Republican state attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in support of the measure. [13] The Pennsylvania Attorney General argued that the "the lawsuit filed by the federal government in this case undermines the constitutional authority of all our states." [14] This opinion, however, is at odds with the current governor, who contends it is the sole authority of the federal government to handle responsibility for this issue.


Civil rights complaint

In August 2008, Thomas D. Kimmet, a former deputy in the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office and a ten year veteran of the Department of Revenue, filed a federal civil rights complaint in United States Middle District Court alleging that the state's top law enforcer, Tom Corbett, had violated his constitutional rights. Furthermore, Kimmet accused Corbett and his lieutenants of preventing him from "correcting inefficiencies in the Office of Attorney General's (OAG) Financial Enforcement Section (FES)," the state's last resort in collect debts and back taxes, that may be costing taxpayers millions of dollars per year. [15] [16] The suit now stands before District Court Judge John Jones, a longtime Republican who had been speculated at one time of being a gubernatorial candidate; attorneys for Mr. Kimmet, however, are requesting a jury trial.

Six hours of deposition testimony shows that State Attorney General Tom Corbett depends upon his senior staff to relay information to him and that he believes in a "military style chain-of-command management." [15] Additionally, he denied having any memory of there being significant problems related to the FES and acknowledged that in signing Mr. Kimmet's walking papers in November 2008, he did not see if he had asked for a review of his dismissal.

Kimmet charged that the FES was making "fraudulent payouts for services that were unearned or earned improperly by private collection agencies" and that "many debts collected by state agencies were improperly credited to private vendors." [17] [18] However, when he made attempts to correct these issues, he encountered harsh resistance from his superiors and even members of his immediate staff. He said that Corbett refused to follow up on his investigation into the alteration of FES records in order "to avoid public disclosure of possible criminal misconduct and fraud." [17] The OAG vigorously denied all of these charges. As to the former deputy attorney general's dismissal, the OAG alleged that Mr. Kimmet was a poor manager who routinely acted aggressively toward staff, rejected proposed compromises, and, most importantly, "failed to discharge his responsibilities on a costly and critical technology project." [17]



Corbett plans to run for re-election as governor in 2014, saying in November 2012 that he "has no plans to break" the tradition of Pennsylvania governors serving two terms.[19]


See also: Pennsylvania gubernatorial election, 2010

Corbett announced his candidacy for the Republican party nomination for Governor of Pennsylvania on September 15, 2009. [20] A Quinnipiac poll taken in December 2009 indicated that he leads United States Representative Jim Gerlach for the Republican nomination with 38 percent favoring his candidacy. Furthermore, the polling data suggested that were the gubernatorial election to be held today Corbett would easily beat the three top-polling Democrats in head-to-head match-ups. [21]

  • 2010 General Election
Corbett and his runningmate Jim Cawley earned 54.5% of the vote in the general election on November 2, 2010, defeating Democrats Dan Onorato and runningmate Scott Conklin.[22]
Governor of Pennsylvania, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngTom Corbett 54.5% 2,172,763
     Democratic Dan Onorato 45.5% 1,814,788
Total Votes 3,987,551
  • 2010 Republican Primary
Corbett won the Republican nomination for governor on May 18, 2010 with 68.7% of the vote over opponent Samuel Rohrer.[23]
Governor of Pennsylvania, 2010
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngTom Corbett 68.7% 589,249
Samuel Rohrer 31.3% 267,893
Total Votes 857,142


  • 2008 Race for Attorney General - Republican Primary [24]
    • Tom Corbett ran unopposed
2008 Race for Attorney General - General Election [25]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Tom Corbett (R) 52.4%
John M. Morganelli (D) 45.7%
Marakay J. Rogers (Green) 1.9%
Total votes 5,732,574


2004 Race for Attorney General - Republican Primary [26]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Tom Corbett (R) 52.8%
Bruce Castor (R) 47.2%
Total votes 931,362
2004 Race for Attorney General - General Election [27]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Tom Corbett (R) 50.4%
Jim Eisenhower (D) 48.4%
Marakay J. Rogers (Green) 1.3%
Total votes 5,423,269

Campaign donors

Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Tom Corbett's donors each year.[28] Click [show] for more information.


Corbett currently resides in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with his wife, Susan Manbeck, though their family home is in Shaler Township. The couple has two children - Tom, a video game producer, and Katherine, a prosecutor in the Philadelphia District Attorney's office, as well as one grandchild.[29]

Contact Information

Tom Corbett for Governor Campaign logo

Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General
16th Floor
Strawberry Square
Harrisburg, PA 17120

Phone: 717-787-3391
Fax: 717-787-8242

See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Pennsylvania Office of the Governor, "Governor Tom Corbett," accessed September 28, 2012
  2. Capitol blogs, "Corbett approvals stay in the basement in new F&M, Quinnipiac polls," September 26, 2012
  3. CNN, "Pennsylvania, Wyoming governors endorse Romney," April 17, 2012
  4. Pennsylvania Independent "Privatization of State Liquor Stores Could Yield $2 Billion" 11 Nov. 2010
  5. The Jakarta Post, "Lawyer: Penn St. coach still says he's not guilty," June 26, 2012
  6. The Examiner, "Will Sandusy verdict put Pennsylvania governor Corbett on trial?," June 24, 2012
  7. Reuters, "Pennsylvania attorney general says Sandusky got fair trial," June 25, 2012
  8. The Washington Post, "Defense lawyer: Ex-Penn St. assistant Sandusky wants ‘people to know that he’s not guilty’," June 25, 2012
  9. "Gas Drilling Critics Say Corbett Will Endanger Property Rights With Forced Pooling," Pennsylvania Independent, JANUARY 4, 2011
  10. Politico "GOP AGs may sue over health bill" 24 Dec. 2009
  11. Associated Press "13 attorneys general sue over health care overhaul" 23 March, 2010
  12. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "Corbett pits Pa. against health plan" 23 March, 2010
  13. FOX News "Justice Department Files Suit Against Arizona Immigration Law" 6 July, 2010
  14. The Philadelphia Inquirer "Pennsylvania joins brief in support of Arizona immigration law" 15 July, 2010
  15. 15.0 15.1 Pennsylvania Independent ""Whistleblower" Suit Allows Peek into AG's Office" 16 April, 2010
  16. The Philadelphia Inquirer "Two lawsuits allege Corbett has mismanaged Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office" 21 June, 2010
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Pennsylvania Independent "Civil Rights Complaint Alleges AG Staff Balked" 19 April, 2010
  18. Pennsylvania Independent "What is a Whistleblower?" 20 April, 2010
  19. Allentown Morning Call, "Corbett: No plans to end 'tradition' of Pa. governors serving two terms," November 12, 2012
  20. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "Corbett announces he will run for governor in 2010" 15 Sept. 2009
  21. "Poll finds Attorney General Tom Corbett holds wide lead in governor's race" 17 Dec. 2009
  22. Pennsylvania Department of State, "2010 General Election Results," accessed September 28, 2012
  23. Pennsylvania Department of State, "2010 General Primary Official Results," accessed September 28, 2012
  24. Pennsylvania Department of State: Elections Information - 2008 Republican Primary Election Results
  25. Pennsylvania Department of State: Elections Information - 2008 General Election Results
  26. Pennsylvania Department of State: Elections Information - 2004 Republican Primary Election Results
  27. Pennsylvania Department of State: Elections Information - 2004 General Election Results
  28. Follow the, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015
  29. Project Vote Smart, "Tom Corbett biography," accessed September 28, 2012

Political offices
Preceded by
Ernie Preate
Pennsylvania Attorney General
Succeeded by
Mike Fisher
Preceded by
Jerry Pappert
Pennsylvania Attorney General
Succeeded by
Linda Kelly
Preceded by
Ed Rendell
Governor of Pennsylvania
Succeeded by