Category Archives: Campaign finance

2 Chesco reps make the Big Money 20 list

The group End Citizens United sponsors the “Big Money 20” campaign, “aimed at defeating incumbents who do the bidding of special interests such as drug companies, Big Oil, and Wall Street, while also rigging the system.”

Chester County’s all-R congressional delegation of 3 supplied 2 out of the 20 winners. In End Citizens United’s words:

Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA 06)

Co-sponsored a bill that contributed to the opioid crisis by making it “virtually impossible” for the DEA to freeze suspicious shipments of drugs; and received more than $300,000 in contributions from the pharmaceutical industry over his career

Voted against campaign finance reforms, including the DISCLOSE Act and a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United

and Rep. Pat Meehan (R-PA 07)

Was the beneficiary of over $1.2 million of outside spending from secret money groups in 2010 and voted several times against disclosure requirements for those groups.

Flip-flopped on protecting Americans’ online privacy rights after a major uptick in contributions from the telecom industry, including from top donor Comcast

Is Chesco’s 3rd rep, Lloyd Smucker (R-PA 16), feeling left out?

You can hunt down a lot of info on donations to elected representatives at the Center for Responsive Politics’ Open Secrets site.

NRA and Chesco’s 3 R’s in the US House

Excerpts from “Have your representatives in Congress received donations from the NRA?,” by Aaron Williams, Washington Post, updated Oct. 5, 2017. (Note that organizations, like corporations, have ways other than direct contributions to support office-holders, such as encouraging contributions by individuals, channeling money through trade associations and “issue groups” that preserve anonymity, etc. Naturally in areas like Chester County which favor gun violence prevention, recipients of NRA funding would prefer it be off the record.)

Who Is Lloyd Smucker (R-PA 16) representing?

The above is from “Thoughts and Prayers and N.R.A. Funding” by By DAVID LEONHARDT, IAN PRASAD PHILBRICK and STUART A. THOMPSON, New York Times, OCT. 4, 2017. Smucker is 7th on NRA’s recipient list in the US House, based on career totals. This is all the more impressive after serving 8 years in the PA legislature and now in only his first year in the US House.

Say no to pay to play

by Andy Dinniman, Philadelphia Inquirer, 2/26/04

Pay-to-play, a system by which those seeking to manage public pension funds make political contributions in hopes of receiving business, is an unfortunate part of today’s political scene.

As a member of the Chester County Retirement Board, I recently proposed that we adopt a clear policy statement against this practice and against even the perception that pay-to-play would be permissible.

My resolution would have forbidden any contribution to Retirement Board members or to a county political party from any money manager or financial consultant who has a county contract to invest retirement funds. It would also have required those submitting such proposals to disclose political contributions.

After a brief discussion, my proposal was defeated. Had there been legitimate objections or legal obstacles, it could have been tabled so that these concerns could have been researched. Instead, the motion was simply dismissed.

All of the Republican members of the board voted against the resolution. Each said he or she would not personally accept such donations, but refused to ban the practice and prevent contributions from being given to county political parties.

I don’t question the integrity of the Republican board members, but I do fault their logic. It is meaningless to say that one would personally not accept donations while letting the party accept such money some of which can be used to elect them to office.

It is reasonable to suggest that the Republican leadership in Chester County has considerable influence over what happens here. Continue reading