Mystery Money Flowed to Corbett Campaign

  • Susan Phillips

Center for Public Integrity

The Center for Public Integrity has published an investigative piece that raises questions about the source of campaign contributions to Gov. Corbett during his 2010 race for governor against Democrat Dan Onorato. By election day, CPI reports that $6 million flowed into Corbett’s campaign coffers through the Republican Governor’s Association. But the source of one $1.5 million donation from Wisconsin remains a mystery.

By the time the donation reached Corbett, it was impossible to identify the original source of the cash or whether the donation was permissible under state law.

And it turns out that some of the RGA’s largest donors are active drillers in Pennsylvania.

It was no secret in the 2010 race for governor of Pennsylvania that Republican Tom Corbett, the state’s attorney general, was the favorite of the burgeoning natural gas industry. Corbett collected almost $1.3 million from donors with oil and gas interests, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics. Aubrey McClendon, the CEO of Chesapeake Energy, the nation’s No. 2 natural gas producer and the top driller in the lucrative Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania, gave the campaign $5,000 while his company’s political action committee contributed $12,000. But that’s a small fraction of what Chesapeake gave to Corbett’s top donor.

Chesapeake Energy gave more than $300,000 to the RGA. But we may never know if that was directed to Corbett’s campaign. For more on how the RGA, and its Democratic counterpart, the Democratic Governor’s Association, may be skirting campaign finance laws, click here. To learn about the energy industry’s role in funding the RGA, read CPI’s story here.

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