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FRANKLIN L. KURY v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (10/09/81)

decided: October 9, 1981.

FRANKLIN L. KURY, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, STATE ETHICS COMMISSION, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the State Ethics Commission in case of In Re: Franklin L. Kury, No. 81-001.

COUNSEL

Joseph K. Pierce, Tive, Hetrick & Pierce, P.C., for petitioner.

Sandra S. Christianson, General Counsel, for respondent.

President Judge Crumlish and Judges Mencer, Craig, MacPhail and Palladino. Opinion by Judge MacPhail. Concurring Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Macphail

[ 62 Pa. Commw. Page 175]

On January 27, 1981, the State Ethics Commission (Ethics Commission) issued an opinion to Franklin L. Kury (Petitioner), a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and a former member of the Senate of Pennsylvania, holding that the Petitioner could not represent any client before the Senate or the Public Utility Commission (PUC) nor perform certain other enumerated functions before those bodies for the period of one year after the expiration of Petitioner's term as a member of the Senate. The Ethics Commission found Section 3(e) of the Act of October 4, 1978 (Ethics Act), P.L. 883, 65 P.S. § 403(e) to be applicable. That statutory provision reads as follows:

[ 62 Pa. Commw. Page 176]

No former official or public employee shall represent a person, with or without compensation, on any matter before the governmental Page 176} body with which he has been associated for one year after he leaves that body. (Emphasis added.)

In his Petition for Review filed with this Court, Petitioner challenges the adjudication of the Ethics Commission as it applies to his activities before the PUC.

During his term of office, Petitioner served as chairperson of the Senate Consumer Affairs Committee. The Ethics Commission held that the main area of concern of that legislative committee was the PUC. In previous opinions of the Ethics Commission, it had held that a former public official who had served in the legislature could be found to have been "associated" with more than one governmental body. More specifically, the Ethics Commission said that a legislator who served as an ex officio or appointed member of a non-legislative board, commission or authority would be "associated" with that board, commission or authority, as well as with the House or Senate where he served as an elected member. The Ethics Commission went on to hold in those opinions that a legislator would also be "associated" with any department, authority, commission, etc. which was directly related to the standing committee of the legislature which the legislator chaired. Feeling that its previous rulings on those matters were correct, the Ethics Commission applied the same reasoning to Petitioner's case.

In the appeal now before us, Petitioner contends that the Ethics Commission erred in defining the PUC as a governmental body with which Petitioner was "associated" during his term of office and that previous decisions of this Court and of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania are to the effect that Section 3(e) of the Ethics Act is unconstitutional as applied to members of the Bar of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

[ 62 Pa. Commw. Page 177]

As might be expected, the term "associated" is not defined in the Ethics Act. Our statutory mandate is that non-technical words and phrases shall be construed according to their common and approved usage. 1 Pa. C.S. § 190(a). "Associate" is defined, inter alia, in Webster's ...


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