Campaign Finance in PA: PennLive Delves into Contributions

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Did you know that in the U.S., 39 states recognize the influence and power associated with unlimited political campaign contributions? Would you be surprised to learn that Pennsylvania is not counted among them?

One of Pennsylvania’s premier news organizations, PennLive recently wrote several pieces about campaign finance contributions, including this one about how unlimited campaign contributions affect the political landscape in the Keystone State.

Not sure what that affect has been? Here’s an excerpt from a recent PennLive article:

Throughout the last 15 years, campaigning has grown into a billion-dollar business in the state. It’s not just the $1 billion candidates have collected in that time. It’s also the money spent on ads, airtime, lobbying and legal fees.

“These campaign contributions are investments in power,” said Barry Kauffman, executive director of Common Cause Pennsylvania.

Where does that money go? Mostly to incumbents. And why’s that? Here’s a brief summary from the story:

Incumbents get to vote on legislation – or withhold votes – and introduce bills.

“They shape policy enormously,” Kauffman said.

Many incumbents, especially committee chairs, have a group of ready-made donors. For example, during the last 15 years, lawmakers who have led the House and Senate energy committees have received money from the oil and gas industry, electricity providers and renewable energy companies.

It’s a fascinating read – we recommend you check it out.

Want to check the campaign finance reports of your state representative or senator? You can do that here.

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