Pennsylvania Senate President pro tempore Jake Corman hired a well-connected lobbyist as his chief of staff last September. Corman hired Krystjan Callahan, a partner at Maverick Strategies, a well-known lobbying firm run by Ray Zaborney. Zaborney also runs Corman’s campaigns. Spotlight PA, who first reported the hire, described Callahan as a “top lobbyist with a politically connected Harrisburg firm.”
Callahan was previously the top staffer to former Republican House Speaker Mike Turzai but has worked for Zaborney since leaving. Zaborney and his wife run a trio of companies known as The Mavericks. The companies help elect lawmakers and then lobby them once they are in office. Zaborney’s wife, Jen Zaborney, runs the fundraising arm of The Mavericks and has helped Corman raise millions of dollars over the years. Ray Zaborney has also run Corman’s campaigns since 2015.
Jennifer Kocher, Corman’s spokesperson, said Corman hired Callahan because of his qualifications, which she called “second to none.” She said Corman should not be precluded from hiring the best-qualified person simply because of an association with Zaborney. “I believe Krystjan’s years of experience in state government will be an asset to me and my staff as we continue to work toward our Caucus goals going into the fall and beyond,” Corman wrote in an email regarding Callahan’s hiring.
Zaborney’s firm operates both a campaign and a lobbying arm, which is something few firms do. Zaborney, along with another firm called Long, Nyquist & Associates have come to dominate this market in Harrisburg. According to Spotlight PA, firms run by the Zaborneys and Long and Nyquist have together been paid at least $26.3 million since 2011 by legislative candidates, the state Republican party, GOP legislative campaign committees, congressional candidates, and various political action committees.
Ray Zaborney, who once described himself as a “black lives matter guy” in a tweet, recently defended Corman’s decision to remove Senator Doug Mastriano from the audit process. “This is a lie. Corman supports an election audit and Mastriano has been using an audit for political gain. That ends today,” Zaborney wrote in a tweet. “To me, he’s not really interested in results, he’s interested in grandstanding, and this is too important of an issue,” Corman said of Mastriano in an interview Friday. “I want someone who wants to get results.”
This is a lie. Corman supports an election audit and Mastriano has been using an audit for [email protected] That ends today https://t.co/9gk871TzJU
— Ray Zaborney (@raythemaverick) August 20, 2021
This week, Corman used his position in the Senate to hijack Mastriano’s movement to hold a forensic audit of the 2020 election, as National File previously reported. Teddy Daniels, an America First candidate for US Congress, said it appears that Corman “wants to go to war,” and has appeared to have forgotten that “he isn’t dealing with Swampy RINO politicians.”
“Why do RINO’s always prefer to work ‘behind the scenes’? We want a transparent audit led by Mastriano! Not a con job by Corman who already has lied, stone walled the audit, and is now smearing @dougmastriano, who without, the audit would not be possible!” tweeted Liz Harrington.
Senator Mastriano released an update on the forensic investigation into the 2020 election this morning before his staff was fired, detailing how his efforts have been “stone walled.”
An update on the pursuit of a full forensic investigation of the 2020 and 2021 elections: pic.twitter.com/uu6zYPlueZ
— Senator Doug Mastriano (@SenMastriano) August 20, 2021