Common Cause is out with a new study today, documenting how much money natural gas companies have donated to politicians in Washington and Harrisburg.
This is far from an objective report – Common Cause is straightforward in its opposition to hydraulic fracturing, and repeatedly warns of its dangers throughout the document. The group derides Pennsylvania’s regulatory framework, and makes sweeping claims, like arguing the commonwealth “insufficiently funds its corps of safety inspectors.”
Still, the campaign finance numbers are worth taking a look at. On the Congressional level, three Pennsylvania lawmakers rank among the top 100 Congressmen and Senators, when it comes to campaign contributions from natural gas companies. Republican Tim Murphy, a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, ranks 10th, with $275,499. Freshman Republican Senator Pat Toomey is 28th, at $160,750. And Democrat Jason Altmire ranks 96, with $65,635 in donations.
All of Common Cause’s totals come from the last ten years of public campaign finance data.
The money Governor Tom Corbett received from drillers during last year’s campaign has been well-documented, so it’s no surprise the Republican tops the list of state-level officials, with $1,634,097. That’s about four times as high as the number two spot: Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati, who took in $282,034. House Republican Policy Chair Dave Reed is third, with a bit more than $105,000. (Scarnati and Reed are both playing a major role in shaping the dueling House and Senate impact fee bills lawmakers are voting on this fall.) The first Democrat listed is former Speaker Bill DeWeese, who represents a drilling-heavy district in Greene County. He raised about $53,000 from drillers.
Here’s the full report, with relevant sections highlighted: