Pattye Benson

Community Matters

PA State House 157 Candidates Drucker & Kampf . . . Campaign Finance Reporting

In the days leading up to the May Primary, comparison of expenditures between State House 157 Republican candidates Ken Buckwalter and Warren Kampf was discussed on Community Matters. At that time, some Community Matters readers criticized me for not discussing the expenditures of Democrat candidate State House Representative Paul Drucker. I explained that as an unopposed, endorsed candidate I thought it would be more appropriate to compare Drucker’s campaign expenses after the Primary (when we knew the identify of his Republican opponent). However, as a reader has recently commented, the Primary is over, Warren Kampf is the Republican candidate and the campaign finance reports are available.

Comparing the latest campaign finance reports of 5/3/10 of both Drucker and Kampf was an interesting exercise. (Campaign finance reports are public documents). Looking at the campaign finance reports shows you various things, including the level of funding received by candidates, listing of candidates expenditures and specific donations received by the candidates.

Here are the candidates totals as of 5/3/10:

  • Combining candidates contributions carried over from 2009 with funds raised during the first 4 months of 2010: Drucker $65,925.02; Kampf $58,448.49.
  • Total expenditures of candidates: Drucker $53,297.25; Kampf $33,896.18.
  • Ending available balance of candidates (after deducting expenditures and unpaid debts): Drucker $9,627.77; Kampf $14,907.31.

Looking at Schedule III of the campaign finance reports for Drucker and Kampf, it is interesting to look at how each candidate spent money. Below is a breakdown of the top expenses of each campaign:

  • Major Drucker Campaign Expenses: $33,716.98 consulting; Paoli office rental $1,000/mo plus utilities; Phoenixville office rental $450/mo; $1,025 computer software.
  • Major Kampf Campaign Expenses: $14,445 mailers; $6,535 consulting; $7,107 postage; $5,500 website; $1,982 signs

So where did the candidates receive their major campaign funding to date? The campaign finance report details the (1) Political Committee Contributions of $50.01 to $250 and over $250 and (2) All Other Contributions of $50.01 to $250 and over $250. Any contribution of $50 or less is not required to be reported.

Both candidates have received many donations from generous supporters. For the purposes of this discussion, I am only going to focus on the contributions that are $1,000 or greater.

In the category of Political Committee Contributions $1,000 or greater, the candidates received the following donations:

  • Drucker: Bricklayers Local 1 $1,000; Citizens Elect Dwight Evans for State Rep $2,500; International Electrical Workers $1,000; Iron Workers Local 401 $1,000; LawPac $1,000
  • Kampf: Aqua America Political Action Committee $1,000, White and Williams LLP PAC $2,000

In the category of All Other Contributions $1,000 or greater, the candidates received the following donations:

  • Drucker: Michael Barrett, Esq. $1,000; Larry Bendesky, Esq. $1,000; Stewart Eisenberg, Esq. $1,000; Ronald Kovlar, Esq. $1,000; Robert Mongeluzzi, Esq. $1,000; Deborah Willig, Esq. $1,000
  • Kampf: Paul Olson $2,500; John Piasecki $1,000; Robin Kohn $1,000; Edmund McGurk $1,000; James McErlane, Esq. $5,000

I remember hearing that the State House 157 race between Paul Drucker and Guy Ciarrocchi was the most expensive race in Pennsylvania’s 2008 election year. The amount of money spent on the 2008 race was shocking. How will the contributions in the Drucker and Kampf match up to the 2008 level of funding? Although the campaign contributions and expenditures indicated in the campaign finance report for Drucker and Kampf would seem high, I think it is safe to assume that raising money in today’s economic climate will be far more difficult than just a couple of years ago.

But then again, should it really need to cost $500K or more to win a Pennsylvania state representative seat? Personally, I would hate to think that Drucker and Kampf will expend anywhere near that kind of money between now and November’s general election. Much time can be spent by candidates “dialing for dollars” to a select few rather than talking with a wide range of voters about their beliefs, hopes and needs. It would seem that the endless competition for funds from special interest groups weakens the role of civic dialogue and can create ineffective governance.

Pennsylvania is one of only five states that have no contribution limits and no public financing of elections. As a state representative in Pennsylvania, with a 2-year term, you no sooner are elected than you are soliciting funds for the next campaign – almost as if fundraising becomes a second profession. The lax laws mean a candidate can spend an enormous amount of money on a campaign. This puts pressure on incumbents to keep their coffers filled in case of a well-financed challenge.

The rules on funding campaigns in Pennsylvania need to change. There are good proposals out there; lawmakers just need courage to vote on them.

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  1. Man, what the heck did Drucker spend all that consulting money on? Jeez. And his landlord must be a real peach charging him only $450/month for an office right on Bridge St. in Phoenixville!

    1. Karl, you could not be more on target. I know Paul is kind of lazy and needs (and has) good handlers, but jeepers I didn’t know they had James Carville on staff.

      1. Those consultants must have a pretty big say in everything Drucker says and does to be making that kind of $$. Kind of makes you wonder if Drucker is even capable of thinking for himself.
        How many of the decisions he has to make regarding policy are coming directly from these consultants?

        1. So you admit that Drucker is an empty suit, a mere puppet for his ‘consultants’?
          What do we even know about his consultants anyway? Are any of Drucker’s ideas his own, or are they all bought from his campaign manager?

  2. Many thanks for this post, Pattye. In the absence of the reforms you advocate and which are so sorely needed, the best weapon for the electorate is the kind of transparency you are providing.

    In addition to the contributions you mention, Drucker received $2,500 from the PSEA and $500 from the SEIU. $21,000 of the consulting dollars went to Rex Carney, listed on the TTDems web site as “Liaison, Campaigns”. I wonder what value was added?

  3. The top contributors to Kampf are interesting — supervisor Olson gives $2500 and James Mcerlane (the law firm under contract with the township) gives $5,000. I’m guessing that level of support will allow for the Lamb McErlane law firm to continue their contractual agreement with the township. It’s just interesting.

  4. Jim McErlane is one of Chester County’s most prominent Republicans and largest Republican donors to candidates at every level of office. I wouldn’t be so fast to lump his involvement in for the reasons you imply. I would take it as a signal that this race will be a huge target for the state House Reps and Dems this year.

    Why is it shocking that one of Kampf’s fellow Supervisors (who has worked with him for 6 years and ran with him for election in 2007) would be supportive?

  5. We will find that both Drucker and Kampf take funds from interest groups that may benefit from their election. What’s so surprising about that? What doesn’t surprise me, either is that some here will rant about the corruption that is swarming around Kampf but not mention Drucker. Partisan politics… don’t ya love it.. Gotta raise money, right? Thanks to those that point out it cuts both ways.

  6. Rep. Drucker’s consulting expenditures may seem high in relation to Mr. Kampf’s, but there is more to these numbers than meets the eye. First, consider that Paul also spent very little on consulting and paid staff during his first campaign run for the 157th in 2008. As a first-time state-level candidate, he had no clear sense of how much money he could raise – just an ambitious target – or how much he would need to mount a competiitive race against the reportedly well-funded Guy Ciarrocchi. He relied on the generosity of many committed volunteers.

    Now as the incombent Paul has established relationships over the past two years and gained experience at the painful though necessary exercise iin fundraising.. He also is in the position to hire a person whose value to the campaign re message and strategy is proven. A person who had donated his services for many years in the past.

    The rest of that expenditure represents salary for a young staffer to handle Rep. Drucker’s day-to-day campaign. Remember, no one on Paul’s legislative or constituent services staff can be involved in his political campaign . And Paul has properly maintained a complete separation of these two staffs.. One paid by the state, the other from his campaign contributions.

    Mr. Kampf is likely feeling his way, conserving resources for the fall campaign, gearing up to raise the big money he will need to get out his message.

    While it is likely much money will be spent by both candidates between now and November, I share Pattye’s hope that the campaign spending will not reach the stratospheric level it did two years ago. It’s just not in keeping with the economic times we face.

    And i agree with Pattye that campaign finance laws have to change to prevent powerful interests from contirbuting unlimited money while the voices of small donors and non-donors are being drowned out under the current system. Which legislators will have the courage to vote to limit their access to campaign money? A question worth posing to each and every candidate for office.

    I heard that our former state Rep, Carole Rubley never spent more than $30,000 on a campaign…Amazing! But that time has passed, partly because candidates for even local office now must expect to run against well-qualified, well-funded opponents and possibly face contested primaries. Carole was fortunate enough to have had few opponents, plus to her great credit, she was highly regarded by the majority of her constituents, because she was responsive to their needs and concerns..

  7. As reported, Aqua donated $1,000 to the Tredyffrin Supervisor Fire Fund Drive. Nice to see Warren got 1K too.


    1. John’s evil twin….
      Thank you for this Pattye. I would think that the people on this blog are savvy enough to know this stuff — but clearly folks want to make a point.

      Our government is so clearly bought by private and special interests. Are we surprised that even a lowly state rep seat attracts varied and self-serving donors? The more competitive (read: political) elections become, the bigger the cost to run and the bigger the payoff for winning. Take a look at the people already in DC — do we think they ALL started out rich? Joe Biden — where does his money come from ? Arlen Specter — once a lowly city DA….
      We made this people — and we re-elect them and we don’t care as long as our streets are paved and our lives are smooth. How many Republicans grew up hearing about how horrible FDR was? Likewise southerners growing up believing Lincoln destroyed the south (He did — he freed slaves, but in effect he confiscated private property — labor — and plantation owners could no longer run their property affordably.)

      All not related — but the bottom line is that there is an obvious interest in holding these positions — both Drucker and Kampf are lawyers who were in private practice. WHY would they abandon that lucrative position to “serve” at that level? Power? Next step?

      As long as donations are accounted for, who really cares where the money comes from? If you want to know where their votes will go, follow the money. And ignore the rants about Kampf or Drucker — there’s plenty of slime to go around. Neither man will have control or domination of political donations…. it’s a business decision on the part of the donor (which is why the fire funding solicitation was bad — but the result was good).


      1. Let me get this straight so I understand your position…

        Kampf can never call Drucker out for taking $’s from special interests, therefore
        Drucker can never call Kampf out for taking $’s from special interests

        But John Petersen can (and does relentlessly) call Kampf out for taking $’s from special interests.

        Like you said, just because it is legal, it does not make it ethically right.

      2. Mr. Petersen, why would Kampf call out Drucker on donations? Has he done so already? If not, it seems you can also say Drucker should not call out Kampf on donations too. But is that not in your makeup?

        Please advise.
        thanks Chet

      3. So long as Drucker does not claim that Harrisburg needs to be fixed, then he should not be called out for his apparent ‘pay to play’ ethical violation with Sam Pilotti and Metric Realty?

        Someone told me that reading/responding to your posts was a waste of time. I think they might have been correct.

      4. “You couldn’t arrive at your own opinion on this? You actually needed somebody to spoon feed their opinion to you?”

        Actually, that comment was for the person who told me not to bother with all this.

        If I had your imagination John, I’m sure I could come up with some far-fetched paranoid ‘pay to play’ scenarios revolving around Drucker’s contributions and voting record. But, aside from pure entertainment, what’s the point.

        “when EJ is done using the big box of crayons, she can pass them to you”
        Sounds like you may be a tad jealous of her, as she did something you could never do… get elected to the BOS. Is that root of all your hatred?

      5. You blanket assertion that only gullible fools support Kampf speaks volumes with regards to your character. But then again, you are a Drucker supporter, so it should not be surprising at all.

      6. Both Drucker and Kampf are still in private practice. Warren’s on some kind of leave from White and Williams and I believe Paul’s affiliated with Chester County firm Platt, DiGeorgio and DiFabio.

  8. Thank you Pattye for offering this information to the residents. You are providing a level of transparency that does not exist in our local government!

    1. Not to take away from the effort that Pattye puts into this site, the “transparency” is required by law and is available to all:

      Campaign Finance:

      1. Click Report Search
      2. Enter the name of the person you want to get the data for. Note, it is looking for last name and then first name (i.e. KAMPF, WARREN).

      It is not a very user friendly search, but there is lots of information available. The Help system could use some work too.

      If you want to see how Rep Drucker voted:

      1. Click Session Info
      2. Click Roll Call Votes
      3. Click the bill.

      Thanks again to Pattye for the summary. The info is there of you prefer to look at the data yourself.

  9. Mr. Petersen, I just don’t see how you can criticize Kampf for taking donations for his political benefit and not say Drucker taking union contributions is different. It seems the same. There is self interest in both of these men’s actions, that being to get elected or stay elected.

  10. Nice to know that Mr. Drucker is immune from pressure from interest groups that may drive his decision making and support him financially. .. Dilution of power doesn’t cut it, although that is what you are saying. Wind power may be the energy alternative we are looking for.

      1. People can act as individuals if they use physical violence, but if they host a fund-raising drive, they cannot?
        And people who inflict physical violence are given the benefit of the doubt, considerations of other explanations… while Kampf (and anyone he associated for that matter) are assumed guilty on all counts. How telling.

        What I don’t expect is for you to actually call out Drucker if he doesn’t return the money.

      2. “I certainly don’t care about your views re Drucker.”

        Fooled me again John, why did you respond to my original post then?

        “You will find that attacking the other guy does not make the case for your guy.”

        If that is the case, then why do you do it?

        I don’t know you personally, but I can’t believe that anyone would go to the lengths that you do to bash Kampf. Whether it’s marginalizing the atrocities of the 3rd Reich or giving the benefit of the doubt to violent union thugs… it will be a pretty sad day if that type of political rhetoric wins out.

      3. ANON, don’t think you have to take Mr Petersen seriously. While he gets people’s dander up his one sidedness, even though he claims rationality and evenhandedness is clear. Makes for good conversation and he allows others to set their gyroscopes. Hope this clears Pattye’s moderation rules

  11. This is politics folks. It’s like religion. It shouldn’t be — but it is. It’s about what people believe to be good and right — and people draw conclusions supported by the facts to the extent that the facts lead them to the conclusion they want.
    John has no business saying we don’t have a clue about his stance on issues — he certainly fills this space with countless evidence to the contrary. But having said that — supporting one candidate rather than another does not make anyone RIGHT…it’s why we have elections. There is — as others have said before — no moot court judge to decide who makes a better case. You cannot win in a debate with JP because he controls the rules and the results by either stopping his contributions when he feels it’s not worth his time, or getting every last word. But to recharacterize his advice: don’t worry about finding dirt on anyone — just research the candidate you support and either come to terms with any ethical issues, or let the candidate know. Or switch candidates….but I think the short version: politics are driven by money. The best funded candidate often wins — so let’s not be surprised by any candidate accepting donations from suspicious sources or for suspicious reasons. Someone is betting on the candidate and putting money behind the bet. It doesnt mean the bet will pay off — nor does it bind the candidate to the donor.
    It’s called voting. Value your vote — lots of people are paying good money to influence it.

  12. Paul Drucker and the Dems in Harrisburg spent $750,000+ to win this seat in 2008. That’s right folks, more than three-quarters of a millions dollars.

    By comparison, Ciarrochi spent about $325,000+ to lose by less than 1,000 votes in a GREAT Democratic year. (That, too, is an insane amount)

    If that doesn’t tell you enough about the lengths that Mr. Drucker and the Dems in Harrisburg will go to to win, and that they will take whatever money they can get, I don’t know what does.

    Forget “politics is like religion” — Paul Drucker turned this into a fundraising battle in 2008 and he will do it again because that is what worked last time. And he/they will spend it being nasty — as he/they did last time too.

  13. The amount of money that was spent on the State House 157 race in 2008 was outrageous — but my guess is that due to the difference in the economic climate in 2010, the candidates will have far more difficulty raising funds. My guess is that the generous funding sources of the past are not going to be as readily available — it’s a far different place than a couple of years ago.

    As for negative campaigning . . . once again, I appeal to both candidates to set your ‘personal bar’ high and don’t stoop to the levels of negative campaigning that this community has witnessed in the past. This is a subject that is very personal for me!

    Just for the record, regardless of who does it . . . know in advance that I will talk about it on Community Matters.

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