3/17/2008Pennsylvania: Toll Road Legal Work Goes to Law Firm of Governor
Pennsylvania governor awards millions in toll road legal work to his former law firm and major political donor.
Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell (D) has handed his former law firm millions in payment for legal work on plans to toll Interstate 80 and privatize the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Over a period of about a year, the law firm Ballard, Spahr, Andrews and Ingersoll has collected $2 million, according to invoices obtained by yardbird.com. Rendell decided that the law firm where he worked as a partner from 2000 to 2002 was better suited to the job, rather than use the seventy lawyers on staff at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
Rendell fundraisers became big winners in the toll road deal. Kenneth M. Jarin, co-chairman of Rendell's re-election campaign, billed the state $24,703.15 for forty-six hours of work with Ballard Spahr. The payment was approved by Pennsylvania State Treasurer Robin L. Wiessmann, who also happens to be Jarin's wife.
Ballard Spahr also happens to be one of Rendell's biggest campaign donors. Since 2001, the firm has given $456,839 to Rendell's campaign committee. So far, attempts to turn Interstate 80 into a toll road have stalled as opposition from members of Congress has blocked Rendell's plan.