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Ethics Watchdog Files Complaint Against Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman

Evidence shows Lt. Gov. Fetterman has consistently violated state law prohibiting the display of unapproved flags on governmental buildings

The non-partisan ethics watchdog, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), submitted a complaint to the Pennsylvania Office of State Inspector General calling for an investigation into Lt. Gov. John Fetterman after he admitted to violating a state law prohibiting the display of unapproved signs and banners at the Pennsylvania Capitol building.

Under Pennsylvania law, banners, posters, signs, and flags are prohibited from being displayed at the state Capitol. Pennsylvania code 1724-E(a) clearly defines this law:


(2) The Department of General Services shall ensure that no flag other than the United States flag, the Pennsylvania flag or a flag authorized under the act of March 4, 1970 (P.L. 128, No. 49) . . . shall be flown over the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building or on Pennsylvania State Capitol grounds.


(3) The Department of General Services shall ensure that no banners, posters, temporary signage, or other similar material, except for informational material to aid navigation of the facilities or signage necessary for health or safety, shall be displayed on the outside of the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building, including its alcoves, balconies, and windows.


Contrary to this law, Lt. Gov. Fetterman has repeatedly displayed banners or flags from a balcony in the Pennsylvania Capitol, including at least ten instances since 2020. Most recently, on November 10, 2021, Fetterman hung a banner for a teacher’s union from a balcony at the Capitol and posted about it on Twitter. Moreover, Fetterman is plainly aware of the law and admitted he violated it, stating in June 2021, “flags that I fly from my office are technically breaking a law.”


“These types of laws are passed for an important reason--to protect taxpayer-funded buildings from being used for personal or political gain. This is a case where Lt. Gov. Fetterman himself has said what he is doing is a violation of the law. There would be repercussions for any other citizen of Pennsylvania who knowingly and publicly stated they 'broke a law.' Nothing exempts the elite or powerful from following the law, and in fact it is detrimental to a fair and impartial government if our public officials are not held to the same standards as everyone else. This raises clear ethics issues, as the Lt. Gov. has sworn to uphold the law, and we urge the Office of Inspector General to take action on this matter,” said Kendra Arnold, Executive Director of FACT.


A full copy of the Fetterman complaint can be found by clicking here.


FACT is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency in government and civic arenas.  For more on FACT, visit: http://www.factdc.org/

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