Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella announced that during the year 2020 Treasury will establish, for the first time, a new policy standard for Department advertising. Any advertising of Treasury’s consumer programs during the 60 days leading up to an election day in Pennsylvania will exclude Treasurer Torsella’s name, voice, and image.
“All too often, the lines of campaign activity and official government work can be blurred to use public office for personal gain. But I am committed to transparency, and operating Treasury at the highest level of ethics and integrity. Excluding my image and name from Department advertising ensures that taxpayers dollars are not used to tip the scales. This takes any gray area out of what should be—very clearly—a bright line: taxpayer funds should not be used for campaign purposes.”
Pennsylvania Treasurer, Joe Torsella
At the start of each legislative session, both chambers of the Pennsylvania General Assembly adopt rules of the chambers. These rules typically include certain ethical standards that prohibit the use of official resources for specified methods of communication when a Member is a candidate in an upcoming election. Treasurer Torsella is not covered by these chamber rules, and Treasury has never had a formal policy on advertising in an election season. Torsella elected to implement the new policy at Treasury to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used for campaign activity.
Treasury’s policy applies to advertisements that appear 60 days prior to both the primary election (February 28 through April 28) and general election (September 3 through November 3). Affected Department advertising includes marketing materials for the PA 529 College and Career Savings Program, Keystone Scholars, the PA ABLE Savings Program, and Unclaimed Property. Materials affected by this policy include, but are not limited to, newly-printed brochures, direct mail, and television and radio commercials.