PLCB Officials Used Public Positions for Personal Gain

Member Group : Commonwealth Foundation

For Immediate Release
Commonwealth Foundation
Contact: Cindy Hamill
(856) 607-4208

PLCB Officials Used Public Positions for Personal Gain
State monopoly has culture of corruption and cronyism on the taxpayers’ dime

March 17, 2014, HARRISBURG, PA—Today, a state Ethics Commission investigation revealed rampant corruption and abuse of power at the troubled Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. Three former senior PLCB officials, including the former Chief Executive Joe Conti, were accused of using their government positions for personal gain and ordered to repay the commonwealth.

For those familiar with the PLCB’s history of boondoggles, the results of the investigation come as no surprise.

"It’s an obvious conflict of interest for PLCB officials to accept sporting event tickets, paid golf outings, and free wine from prospective vendors and award government contracts to their friends or family members," said Matthew J. Brouillette, president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation. "But liquor bureaucrats also have the conflicting mandate to both regulate and sell wine and spirits."

"The only way to end corruption and conflicts of interest at the PLCB is to get government completely out of the liquor business," Brouillette continued. "That means privatizing both the retail and wholesale sides of the government monopoly. Only then will liquor prices and selection be subject to the market rather than the whims of bureaucrats. And only then can the PLCB adequately perform its role as regulator."

Though all three men ordered to pay fines have left the PLCB, the institutional culture of careless disregard for taxpayer resources begs the question of why the state is involved in the liquor business in the first place.

"For years, Liquor Control Board officials have been plagued by scandal after scandal, benefiting themselves and their families at the expense of taxpayers," noted Brouillette. "Until we get the government out of the booze business, the PLCB will continue to benefit only well-connected bureaucrats and their cronies, rather than taxpayers and consumers."

For more examples of PLCB cronyism and bureaucratic boondoggles, visit:

Matthew Brouillette and other Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment.

Please contact Cindy Hamill at (856) 607-4208 to schedule an interview.

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For more information, please contact Cindy Hamill, director of strategic communications for the Commonwealth Foundation at (856) 607-4208 or [email protected].
The Commonwealth Foundation, founded in 1988, crafts free-market policies, convinces Pennsylvanians of their benefits, and counters attacks on liberty.