The Lead

Following sexual harassment scandal, state GOP hires new oversight official

By: - July 22, 2019 2:32 pm

Lawrence Tabas, standing, makes his acceptance speech after winning a unanimous election as Pennsylvania GOP chair on July 13, 2019. (Capital-Star photo by Stephen Caruso)

In the wake of a sexual harassment scandal that led to his predecessor’s resignation, Pennsylvania Republican Party Chairman Lawrence Tabas has hired Lycoming County attorney Denise Dieter to enforce internal party protocols.

“Every organization has an obligation to provide a safe, respectful environment and culture,” Tabas said in a statement the statewide GOP released Monday. “It’s an obligation the PAGOP will take to heart.”

Dieter has served as the Lycoming Republican Party’s solicitor since 2009, and has also managed internal compliance for law enforcement, municipal authorities, and fire departments. In here new role, she “will be tasked with enforcement of legal and ethical policies and procedures in accordance with the PAGOP code of conduct, as well as federal, state and local laws,” the statement reads.

The creation of the “compliance officer,” a new position, follows a scandal within the party. As reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, former GOP Chairman Val DiGiorgio sent sexually explicitly texts to a Republican Philadelphia City Council candidate.

DiGiorgio resigned within hours of the Philadelphia Inquirer publishing the story. Last weekend, the state party elected Tabas as its new chair to replace DiGiorgio.

Tabas faced stiff competition from GOP Vice Chairwoman Bernadette ‘Bernie’ Comfort, who instead became chair of President Donald Trump’s Pennsylvania reelection effort as part of a deal to prevent a divided party.


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Stephen Caruso
Stephen Caruso

Stephen Caruso is a former senior reporter with Pennsylvania Capital-Star. Before working with the Capital-Star he covered Pennsylvania state government for The PLS Reporter.