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Koch-Backed GOP Pennsylvania Candidate’s Firm Violated Labor Law, New Documents Show

A company co-owned by Scott Wagner, the Republican candidate in November’s election for governor of Pennsylvania, paid a fine last year for repeatedly violating federal labor law, recently released Department of Labor records show.

Wagner has since run a campaign focused on saying government regulation is hurting the state’s economy — and won support from pro-business groups like the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity.

A Labor Department investigator on Nov. 22, 2016, inspected Eagle Disposal of PA, Inc., a company of which Wagner owns 50 percent, after an employee was killed the day before by a hit-and-run-driver, documents obtained by the Democratic group American Bridge show. When the investigator asked for Eagle’s records of employee injuries for the last four years, the company’s human resources manager said the logs for 2015 and 2016 were incomplete. He then completed the logs ― showing that eight employees had been injured in the two and a half months prior.

The official ultimately required Eagle to pay a penalty of $1,630.

Eagle is only one of Wagner’s business interests. A multimillionaire who entered politics just four years ago, he is best-known for the company he personally founded and runs: Penn Waste. That firm has twice faced Department of Labor citations and received more than 30 violations and citations from Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection, Philadelphia magazine reported earlier this year. The author of the piece noted that Wagner says many of the violations were as small as a waste truck dripping a minuscule amount of water. But, she added, “Something about Wagner’s lack of subtlety undercuts him. When I ask if Penn Waste ever received a violation that he thought was fair — just one, in the history of the company — he says, bluntly, ‘No.’”

Wagner is challenging sitting Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, betting historically Democratic Pennsylvania is ready for a change and loudly associating himself with President Donald Trump, who pulled off a shock 40,000-vote victory in the state in 2016. Polls suggest Wolf has a sizable lead.

Wagner’s campaign says information about his business practices is being misrepresented.

“Eagle did everything required of them with regards to the hit-and-run accident that took the life of their employee,” spokesman Andrew Romeo told HuffPost in an email. “They reported the death within hours after it happened and fully complied with the investigation thereafter. The unrelated fines the company incurred during the same time period were for ‘minimal’ bookkeeping errors that were corrected in a timely manner. Only liberal billionaire George Soros would stoop to the level of distorting the truth to evoke fear in Pennsylvanians.”

Wagner has long been fixated on Soros, whom he last year called “a Hungarian Jew” with “a hatred of America.” (He has since pointed to his donations to Jewish causes in Pennsylvania.)

“It’s been noted by the media that Scott’s record of regulatory compliance is in accordance with industry averages,” Romeo continued. “To suggest otherwise is nonsense and a scare tactic that will backfire with small business owners across the commonwealth.” 


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