Our opinion: Governor’s secrecy unacceptable

Gov. Josh Shapiro continues to shroud his conduct — the business of taxpaying Pennsylvanians — in an unacceptable level of secrecy.

As a Spotlight PA report noted recently, in the previous year Pennsylvania’s governor accepted about $12,000 in tickets to sports events from a nonprofit organization, Team PA. The nonprofit refuses to disclose who its donors are.

As Spotlight PA’s reporters Stephen Caruso and Angela Couloumbis succinctly put it, “the secrecy leaves taxpayers in the dark about who underwrites the outings and what interests they may have in state government policy.”

The same nonprofit is bankrolling renovations to the governor’s state-owned residence.

“The public has a right to know how their government is operating and how government officials are benefitting from things like private funding,” John P. Pelissero, director of government ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, told Spotlight PA’s reporters when they covered the secrecy around those renovations. “This absence of transparency creates the appearance that there is something to hide, and that has the potential to erode public trust.”

We agree that this aversion to transparency erodes public trust — and we believe it should.

Our government owes much to the taxpaying public, including that the business their tax dollars support is conducted openly so voters can reach their own informed conclusions about it. Our public servants can earn the trust and faith of the public with open, transparent governance — voters and taxpayers do not owe elected officials the benefit of the doubt.


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