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PENNSYLVANIA STATE ASSOCIATION TOWNSHIP SUPERVISORS v. RICHARD L. THORNBURGH (09/29/81)

decided: September 29, 1981.

PENNSYLVANIA STATE ASSOCIATION OF TOWNSHIP SUPERVISORS, ASA D. BURKHOLDER, LEON LANKFORD, AND VINCE CHARPENTIER, APPELLANTS,
v.
RICHARD L. THORNBURGH, GOVERNOR OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, ROBERT E. CASEY, TREASURER OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, ETHEL D. ALLEN, SECRETARY OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, FRANKLIN COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS, BUCKS COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS, YORK COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS, PENNSYLVANIA STATE ETHICS COMMISSION, DISTRICT ATTORNEY OF FRANKLIN COUNTY, DISTRICT ATTORNEY OF BUCKS COUNTY, AND DISTRICT ATTORNEY OF YORK COUNTY



No. 56 May Term, 1979, Appeal from Order of the Commonwealth Court at No. 417 C.D. 1979

COUNSEL

Thomas L. Wenger, Harrisburg, for appellants.

Robert B. Hoffman, Deputy Atty. Gen., for appellees Thornburgh, Casey and Allen.

David Rittenhouse Morrison, Deputy Atty. Gen., for appellee Pennsylvania State Ethics Com'n.

John R. Walker, Dist. Atty., for appellee Franklin County.

Kenneth G. Biehn, Dist. Atty., for appellee Bucks County.

John C. Uhler, Dist. Atty., for appellee York County.

O'Brien, C. J., Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty and Kauffman, JJ. O'Brien, C.j., files an Opinion in Support of Affirmance which Kauffman, J., joins. Nix, J., would affirm the order of the Commonwealth Court. Roberts, J., files an Opinion in Support of Reversal which Larsen and Flaherty, JJ., join. Flaherty, J., files an Opinion in Support of Reversal.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 496 Pa. Page 325]

OPINION OF THE COURT

The Court being equally divided, the Order of the Commonwealth Court is affirmed.

[ 496 Pa. Page 326]

OPINION IN SUPPORT OF AFFIRMANCE

O'BRIEN, Chief Justice.

This is an appeal from an Order entered in the Commonwealth Court sustaining the Preliminary Objections of appellees and dismissing appellants' Petition for Review.

Appellants are three individual supervisors of townships of the second class and the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors. On February 26, 1979, appellants filed a Petition for Review on behalf of themselves and the class they represent, in Commonwealth Court. Named as respondents were the Governor, the Treasurer, the Secretary of the Commonwealth, and the Auditor General*fn1 as individuals, and the Franklin, Bucks and York County Boards of Election and District Attorneys individually and as representatives of classes, and the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission.

By their Petition for Review appellants alleged the Public Officials Ethics Law, 65 P.S. ยงยง 401, et seq., is violative of the Constitutions of the United States or of this Commonwealth, in eleven particulars. By their prayer for relief appellants requested that Commonwealth Court declare the Act unconstitutional, and further that it enjoin respondents, appellees herein, from enforcing it.

Appellees filed Preliminary Objections raising a question of jurisdiction and a demurrer. The latter was sustained by the Commonwealth Court and appellants' Petition for Review was, on August 31, 1979, dismissed. Hence this appeal.

Appellants now advance four arguments, each of which asserts a constitutional defect in the Act.*fn2

[ 496 Pa. Page 327]

First, appellants contend the financial disclosure requirements contained in the Act unconstitutionally infringe upon their right of privacy. The challenged statutory provision is as follows:

"(a) The statement of financial interests filed pursuant to this act shall be on a form prescribed by the commission and shall be signed under penalty of perjury by the person required to file the statement.

"(b) The statement shall include the following information for the prior calendar year with regard to the person required to file the statement ...


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