By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item
MIDDLEBURG — Tom Marino, Republican candidate for Congress, has changed his story six months after he told a Wilkes-Barre talk radio reporter that he had gotten permission from his superiors in the U.S. Department of Justice before lending his name as a reference for a convicted felon who was seeking a casino license.
Marino on Monday said he never asked for permission from the federal agency because it was understood he would be allowed to provide personal references to anyone as long as he didn’t use his job title or attempt to promote individuals on his staff.
He also denied that he had ever claimed that he received, or could provide, written authorization from the Justice Department allowing him to give a personal reference to former casino operator Louis DeNaples.
“I did it all the time,” he said, of providing personal references.
His comments this week contradict comments Marino made in an April interview with WILK Radio host Steve Corbett in which Marino said he received permission before serving as a reference for Denaples.
A recording of the interview is posted on the radio station’s Web site at: http://audio.wilknewsradio.com/m/audio/30617147/tom-marino-10th-district-congressional-candidate-talks-to-corbett.htm.
In that interview, Corbett asks:“Did you have to tell any of your supervisors that you were acting as a reference?” “Yes,” Marino said.
“And did you?” “Yes,” Marino said.
Corbett then asked Marino what the response was from the Department of Justice, and Marino replied that “it was nothing out of the ordinary.”
Following that exchange, Corbett said he followed up the interview by asking Marino’s staff for written documentation that Marino had received permission to serve as a reference. Corbett said a Marino staffer promised to get him that documentation but never did.
On Monday, Marino said there was never written authorization from the Department of Justice.
“The radio personality made it up. There is no letter,” Marino said.
Corbett stands behind his reporting.
The controversy erupted two weeks ago when the Associated Press reported that Department of Justice sources indicated that Marino had never gotten permission to be a reference for DeNaples, who was convicted in 1978 of cheating the federal government of more than $500,000.
At the time, Marino was serving as a U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
He is running against incumbent Democrat Chris Carney, of Dimock, in the 10th Congressional District. The district includes Montour, Northumberland, Union and Snyder counties.