The state Attorney General’s Office is reviewing a letter from a former Democratic legislator that asks for an investigation of Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s decision to keep his former education secretary on the state payroll at $139,000 for more than a year, with little evidence publicly provided of his work.
J.J. Abbott, spokesman for Attorney General Kathleen Kane, said he could “neither confirm nor deny an investigation” into the position held by former Secretary Ron Tomalis, who became the governor’s adviser on special education in July 2013. He’s paid the same amount as acting Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq.
The letter from former Rep. Sean Ramaley, 39, of Marshall seeks an investigation into alleged “theft of tax dollars.”
When he was attorney general, Corbett charged Ramaley, then representing Beaver County, with being a “ghost employee” in the office of former House Democratic Whip Mike Veon. A Dauphin County jury acquitted Ramaley in December 2009.
Corbett’s investigation was “abuse of power,” Ramaley told Kane.
Veon is serving 6 to 14 years in prison for felony theft. He is among 23 lawmakers and staffers convicted under Corbett’s public corruption investigations.
Ramaley told Kane that if there’s evidence of wrongdoing, “both Mr. Tomalis and Mr. Corbett should be brought to justice.”
Jay Pagni, Corbett’s spokesman, declined to comment on Ramaley’s letter. Tomalis could not be reached.
Corbett has said that Tomalis is “not a ghost employee.”
The Department of Education has produced five emails by Tomalis, records of phone calls averaging about one per day, and no substantive reports documenting his work product. Pagni said Tomalis “was involved with the revival of the Governor’s Schools” and “spearheaded the Science, Technology, Energy and Math program” included in the state budget for $5 million.