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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: April 17, 2017 02:42 PM
From: Representative Frank Dermody
To: All House members
Subject: CO-SPONSOR MEMO - Campaign Finance Reform
The growing influence of money in Pennsylvania elections -- particularly that of hidden special interests -- has made the wealthiest voices the loudest and the ones with the most influence and access to government officials in Harrisburg. The extent to which these powerful and influential special interests have become entrenched in Pennsylvania politics is one of the primary reasons for the inability to reach a solution to our historic structural budget deficit.

Robust, comprehensive campaign finance reform is critical if we are to have a chance to begin fixing our broken state government. We need to return government to the people of Pennsylvania and once again focus on the needs of average Pennsylvanians and their families, not just the special interests and wealthy corporations.

To that end, I am reintroducing campaign finance reform legislation to protect the integrity of our state government, make elections more competitive, and curtail the large and mostly unregulated campaign contributions that special interests and corporations use to try to gain undue access and influence in Pennsylvania.

The legislation would impose the following limits on campaign contributions:
  • $1,500 per election to House and Senate candidates
  • $5,000 per election to statewide candidates
  • $10,000 per election to House and Senate candidates from PACs
  • $10,000 per election to PAC’s from political parties
  • $250,000 aggregate limit per election for House and Senate candidates
  • $1,000,000 aggregate limit per election for statewide candidates
  • $5,000,000 aggregate limit per election for governor

The bill would also require incorporated entities that make uncoordinated expenditures on behalf of candidates and campaigns to disclose those contributions. The people of Pennsylvania have the right to know who stands behind these expenditures. Connecticut and Maryland both have recently enacted similar legislation.

Finally, the bill would require corporate shareholders to approve campaign contributions made by the corporation. While corporations cannot vote, they can and do make significant monetary contributions and other expenditures to influence elections and government policy. These decisions are often made by corporate boards or officers behind closed doors without the knowledge or consent of shareholders. My legislation would require a majority of shareholders to approve any political contribution that exceeds $10,000 and receive notification of other political and/or campaign activity.

Introduced as HB1332