The Mysterious Journey of One $1.5 Million Campaign Donation to Pennsylvania’s Governor
Money laundering doesn’t always involve drugs, nor is it always illegal. Take for example Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s 2010 campaign.
Corbett’s allies in the Republican Governors Association (RGA) wanted to support him in his gubernatorial bid, but could not directly contribute to his campaign. That’s because the RGA accepts donations from corporations, and it was illegal under Pennsylvania law for candidates to accept corporate monies.
So, the RGA sent $1.5 million to its affiliate in Wisconsin. From there the Wisconsin RGA gave the $1.5 million to the group’s Pennsylvania chapter. And finally the Pennsylvania affiliate contributed the $1.5 million to Corbett’s campaign. It is not clear who actually contributed the $1.5 million because the RGA might have brought it together from a variety of sources.
According to The Center for Public Integrity, which tracked this transfer, the $1.5 million passed through three RGA accounts in Washington D.C. before making its way to Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Common Cause Executive Director Barry Kauffman called the multi-transferred funds “an elaborate money-laundering scheme, which is legal.”
The $1.5 million wasn’t the only money that the RGA delivered to Corbett. By the time Election Day rolled around, the GOP victor had accepted $6 million in RGA funds.
Among the RGA’s corporate donors was Chesapeake Energy, the nation’s second largest natural gas producer and No. 1 driller in the gas-rich Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania. Chesapeake contributed a little over $300,000 in 2010 to the RGA.
To Learn More:
Pennsylvania Governor Benefited from Untraceable $1.5 Million Donation (by Paul Abowd and Alexandra Duszak, Center for Public Integrity)
D.C.-Based Governors' Associations Provide Back Door for Corporate Donors (by John Dunbar and Alexandra Duszak, Center for Public Integrity)
Pennsylvania Gov. Corbett Suggests Covering Education Budget Cuts by Drilling for Natural Gas on Campuses (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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