Local Politics | State Representative Greg Scott’s endorsement in judicial race raises possible ethics violations

Local Politics is an as-needed column on the political scene in Montgomery County filled with speculation, opinion, and more.

Earlier this week, MoreThanTheCurve.com was provided an image of a letter in which State Representative Greg Scott (D, 54) endorsed Brandon J. Jordan, candidate for a magisterial court judgeship (38-2-09) that Scott held prior to being elected to the state house. The 54th legislative district that Scott currently represents in Harrisburg consists of Norristown (municipality), the Borough of Conshohocken, and Plymouth Township.

While endorsing a candidate doesn’t sound like an unusual thing for a politician to do, the letterhead utilized the Pennsylvania Coat of Arms (an official emblem of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania), and the footer listed a Montgomery County government email address (DC38209@montcopa.org), and the magisterial court’s phone number (610-945-9156).

An elected official utilizing government symbols and contact information in connection to an endorsement of a political candidate could be outside what is permissible in the state’s ethics code (plus, Scott no longer serves as a judge). We have inquired with Montgomery County if Scott, as a former judge, still has access to the email account utilized in the endorsement. At the bottom of the letter in the footer, it states that the letter was paid for by Scott’s “personal fund.”

From the MontcoPA.org website – Contact for the Magisterial Court 38-2-09

On April 27th, MoreThanTheCurve.com attempted to confirm with Scott that he sent the letter. We can’t get him to talk. First, he did not respond to a text message. Later in the day, Scott held a town hall at the Plymouth Fire Company. We attended and after the event, we waited outside to ask him questions. He stayed inside the venue until a couple of cars parked near the door departed to allow a member of his staff to drive his car right up to the door. Scott then quickly got into the car and departed. He ignored our attempts to ask him questions directly and an additional text message after he left.

MoreThanTheCurve.com contacted Todd Barnes, the other Democrat running in the primary for the magisterial court judgeship (38-2-09), for a comment on the issue, and he shared:

At the moment I have no comment on the matter. I am focused on running a race that as far as I’m concerned has nothing to do with Gregory Scott beyond the fact that his early resignation almost a year and a half ago created the current vacancy.

I think my experience and track record (including over a decade of working with area youth) speak for themselves to anyone who is willing to listen and give me fair consideration. If elected, that is exactly what I will do for other people. Everyone deserves a fair shot.

Details about ethics complaints and how the process works can be found here.

More to come.

Photo: Rep. Greg Scott’s Facebook