Corbett rebounds, takes down Morganelli in Pa. AG race

John O'Brien Nov. 4, 2008, 11:55pm


HARRISBURG, Pa. (Legal Newsline) - After an early scare, Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett overtook his Democratic opponent Tuesday and will keep his job.

Corbett trailed by double-digits during the first returns were counted, but he eventually surged past John Morganelli, a district attorney from Northampton County. By the time 76 percent of the precincts had reported, Corbett had moved ahead.

Corbett is a former U.S. attorney who first earned election in 2004 but served as attorney general before that. He was appointed to the spot in 1995 with the condition he would not seek election the following year.

Some of Corbett's recent high points include a $120 million settlement with Royal Dutch Shell and a lawsuit against a Congressman's son accused of violating the Do Not Call list with a large telemarketing scheme.

The Baltimore-based company being sued is run by Cory Ruppersberger, the son of U.S. Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md. Dutch also won re-election Tuesday night.

"This is a business matter that my son Cory is working through with his attorney. I have no involvement in his company," the congressman said in a statement.

Cory Ruppersberger is accused of using a call center in Gujarat, India, to make 500,000 illegal mortgage solicitations by phone between 2005 and 2007 to consumers in 36 Pennsylvania counties who were listed on the state's Do Not Call registry.

The attorney general is seeking $500 million in civil penalties for violations of the state's Consumer Protection Law; the Telemarketer Registration Act; the Mortgage Bankers and Brokers and Consumer Equity Protection Act; the Secondary Mortgage Loan Act; and the Fictitious Names Act.

"This is the most extensive campaign of telemarketing calls to consumers on the Do Not Call list ever investigated by my office," Corbett said in a statement. "They invaded the homes of thousands of Pennsylvania residents with unsolicited and unwanted phone calls, marketing mortgage loans that they were not licensed to sell."

In the Shell case, Corbett alleged investors were harmed by the company's actions.

The class action lawsuit claimed Royal Dutch Shell was overstating oil and natural gas reserves and artificially inflating stock prices from April 1999 to March 2004.

The lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit were the Pennsylvania State Employees' Retirement Board and the Public School Employees' Retirement Board.

"Over the past several years we have taken aggressive legal action against companies accused of misrepresenting profits and other key financial information that misled investors and we will continue to defend the rights of Pennsylvania taxpayers and consumers in these cases," Corbett said.

Morganelli would have been the state's first Democratic attorney general.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at

More News