Ethics Commission won’t launch investigation

Posted on: April 1, 2015 | Bob Frye | Comments

The state’s Ethics Commission will not be launching an investigation into the conduct of Pennsylvania Game Commissioner Bob Schlemmer of Export.
Some sportsmen say they’ll keep pressing the issue, though.
The Beaver County Sportsmen’s Conservation League asked the ethics commission to look into the two-time board president earlier this year. Members alleged that Schlemmer used his official Game Commission email account – the one he uses to communicate with sportsmen on agency issues and issue news releases – to direct people to a campaign website for now-Gov. Tom Wolf during last fall’s election.
That suggested that the commission, or at least the board of commissioners, supported Wolf, said League president Tony Rich. That’s conflict of interest on its face, he said.
“That’s totally out of line, 100 percent,” Rich said.
What’s worse is that many view Wolf as being “unquestionably oriented toward more gun control,” he added.
The League sent Schlemmer a letter asking for an apology or his resignation. When he did neither, it filed an official complaint with the Ethics Commission.
That agency will not be pursuing the matter, however.
Robert Caruso, executive director of the commission, did not return a phone call seeking comment. But in a letter to the League, he said it failed to make its case.
“Your complaint fails to state a cause of action under any of the relevant provisions of the Ethics Act. As such, no investigation will be commenced,” Caruso wrote.
Rich said the League sent supporting documentation to the commission, so he’s not sure what Caruso means. But the League isn’t ready to let the matter drop, he added.
It has nothing against the Game Commission, and nothing against Schlemmer individually. But it remains convinced he was wrong to do what he did, and wants to pursue the matter further.
“This is a story that should be out. Whether anything happens or doesn’t happen, this story has got to get out,” Rich said.
Schlemmer declined to comment.
In the meantime, Rep. David Maloney, a Berks County Republican, chastised Schlemmer on the same issue little more than a week ago when the Game Commission delivered its annual report to the House of Representatives game and fisheries committee.
Maloney called Schlemmer’s behavior unethical.
“I don’t know how Mr. Schlemmer looks himself in the mirror. I’m sorry, I know that’s harsh,” Maloney said. “But that’s my job.”

Bob Frye is the everybodyadventures.com editor. Reach him at 412-838-5148 or bfrye@535mediallc.com. See other stories, blogs, videos and more at everybodyadventures.com.

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Bob Frye is a storyteller with a passion for all things outdoors. He hunts, he fishes, he hikes, he camps, he paddles, backpacks and snowshoes depending on the season. If he’s not an expert at anything, it’s because he’s passionate to try a little bit of everything.