campaign finance reform

Contested Republican Primary for PA State House 157 . . . Does Campaign Finance Report Indicate Kampf & Buckwalter as Fiscally Responsible? You be the judge –

We are in the countdown for the Pennsylvania Primary Election, Tuesday, May 18.  Locally, there is a contested Republican race for the PA State House 157, currently held by incumbent Democrat Paul Drucker.  Ken Buckwalter and Warren Kampf were both recommended by the Chester County Republican Party in March and will appear on Tuesday’s ballot.  The outcome of the Primary will determine whether Buckwalter or Kampf is on the General Election ballot in November and opposing Drucker.

There’s been much said and written about small business owner and Phoenixville Borough councilman Buckwalter vs. attorney and Tredyffrin Township supervisor Kampf.  Each of the candidates has sent several targeted campaign mailers to registered Republicans in the 157 district. Yesterday, Republican residents received a Kampf campaign mailer which focused on Buckwalter’s voting record on the ‘pour tax’ and also the sewer tax.

Did you know that Pennsylvania is only of only 11 states that do not protect their citizens, elections and government from the destructive impact of unlimited campaign contributions?  In fact, in March of this year, Senator Jane Earll (R-49) and Senator Jay Costa (D-43) introduced Senate Bill 1269 which would amend the Pennsylvania Election Code to set campaign contribution limits per election, including in-kind contributions.  The finance reform legislation would place limits on campaign contributions and prohibit the use of campaign funds for personal uses. There are important reasons that voters value fiscal responsibility in their elected officials.  Managing public money is a matter of public trust, and a charge that should not be taken lightly.

When introducing his campaign reform bill, Senator Costa commented that “It is vitally important that Pennsylvania renew the process of reforming our campaign finance laws by placing reasonable restrictions on political contributions and expenditures that are overwhelmingly supported by the public.”  An important campaign component for State House 157 Republican candidates Buckwalter and Kampf is their promise of fiscal responsibility and discipline in Harrisburg.  With a contested primary, I thought it would be interesting to look at how each of these candidates has fiscally managed their campaigns leading up to Tuesday’s Primary.  Campaign finance reporting is public information and I have copies of the latest reports for Buckwalter and Kampf.  Each of the candidates filings are ‘as of May 5, 2010′; Buckwalter electronically filed online and Kampf’s paper-filed. 

Comparing the campaign finance report indicates that total expenditures, debts and obligations as of May 5 for Kampf ($43,541.18) vs. Buckwalter ($10,458.69). These numbers indicate that Kampf is outspending Buckwalter approximately 4-1.  I then looked at how much money each candidate had raised.  As of May 5, total campaign contributions for Kampf ($58,448.49) vs. Buckwalter ($13,202.72). 

I next compared the candidate’s contributorsdid either Kampf or Buckwalter receive $1,000 or more from individuals or companies? Buckwalter – no; actually Buckwalter received no individual contribution greater than $500. Those contributing $1,000 or more to Kampf’s campaign include Paul Olson ($3,500); C.T. Alexander ($1,000); James McErlane, Lamb McErlane Law Firm ($5,000); White & Williams Law Firm ($2,000); Aqua America ($1,000) among others.

How did these 2 candidates spend their money? Statement of expenditures, Schedule III of the Campaign Finance Report indicates the expenses for Kampf and Buckwalter.  Excluding campaign mailers, printing and postage, I looked at all individual campaign expenses of over $500 for each candidate.  The only individual expenses by Buckwalter over $500 was $1,500 on consulting services on two different dates, total of $3,000.  Kampf’s individual expenses exceeding $500 included computer ($630.66); consulting ($3,700); website ($5,550); photocopier ($530); catering ($1,000).

I think that this is an interesting statistical analysis which indicates fundraising and spending patterns of both Republican candidates seeking the PA State Representative position.   It is important that our elected officials are fiscally responsible; have these candidates succeeded in that mission during Primary season? If you are a Republican, you be the judge and cast your vote on Tuesday accordingly.

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