On May 13, 2009, Ralph Wellington was quoted a Legal Intelligencer article titled “Justices Mull: Are Nonprofits ‘Businesses’ Under Ethics Act?” On May 12, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Rendell v. State Ethics Commission. The discussion was focused on whether a nonprofit organization could be considered a business under the Ethics Act. In 2007, two cabinet secretaries in Governor Edward Rendell's administration came under public scrutiny after their departments awarded grants to nonprofit groups that employed their spouses. At the time, the State Ethics Commission ruled that the definition of a business included nonprofit organizations.
Mr. Wellington, representing Governor Rendell, argued that the Ethics Commission’s definition of a business was in direct contradiction to a state Supreme Court decision that had been filed a year before. He explained that for the Court to accept such a change would be problematic because the decision should be left to the General Assembly. “That’s a legislative and policy decision,” Mr. Wellington said. Similar articles about the oral arguments were published by The Associated Press, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Times Leader.