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Corbett Defends Millions In Consultant Fees On Lottery Privatization

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Although the state Attorney General Kathleen Kane says Gov. Tom Corbett's plan to privatize the Pennsylvania Lottery is illegal, Corbett just extended the time to cut a deal with the British company Camelot until the end of the year.

"We are looking at how do we increase revenue to match the needs of our senior citizens," Corbett said on Wednesday in Pittsburgh.

Corbett insists privatization will bring more dollars to seniors, but to reach his goal he has spent, says state Treasurer Rob McCord, $3.4 million on consultants.

"He has turned around and wasted money, piles of money, on consultants and lawyers, trying to figure out how to pursue this misguided, ideological scheme," said McCord.

The governor defended this expense.

"This is not a waste of taxpayer money?" KDKA political editor Jon Delano asked the governor.

"There's going to be differences of opinion, but I don't believe it's a waste of taxpayers' money to invest in money to look at how we're going to increase revenue to protect our seniors and to grow the funding for our senior programs," Corbett responded.

But state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale says his office will review those consultant payments.

"We know roughly $3.4 million was spent on the lottery privatization program, money that I think would have been much better invested for our seniors, but we want to see exactly what happened with that money, how it was spent," noted DePasquale.

The Treasurer says the consulting fees spent came from lottery funds and if "you piled up that money in a stack of dollar bills, it would be taller than Pennsylvania's tallest building."

Corbett says he has no problem with the auditor general's review, but as for McCord, who is running for governor next year, Corbett added, "He's obviously bringing this up for political reasons."

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