HRCC Outraises Dems in 2013
The committee charged with maintaining the GOP majority in the state House had a more prosperous 2013 than its Democratic counterpart, although both ended the year with similar cash on hand.
The House Republican Campaign Committee (HRCC) raised $1,047,814 compared to the House Democratic Campaign Committee (HDCC)’s $746,086. The HRCC spent more cash last year – $969,848 – than the Dems raised. The Democrats spent $532,475 in 2013.
The committees has nearly identical amounts on hand with a slight edge for the HRCC, $236,061 to $235,469.
The reports include January 1 through December 31, 2013.
The Republicans also were able to benefit from cash reserves from the previous year. Whereas the Democrats only rolled over $21,858 from their coffers, the GOP had a sizable $158,095 leftover from 2012.
The HRCC benefited from the kindness and self-interest of its members as the party’s leadership doled out considerable sums of money.
With the Speaker on the way out, the donor race took on a whole new importance as party leaders jockeyed for influence. House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, for example, gave a massive $60,127 to the party through his Leadership Fund PAC. Potential rivals to Turzai contributed smaller yet significant sums, including HRCC Chairman Dave Reed ($20,000) Appropriations Chairman Bill Adolph ($15,172), and Majority Whip Stan Saylor ($10,062).
The party also received a $10,000 check from Governor Tom Corbett.
Speaker Sam Smith did not give any money last year from his campaign account.
The GOP was the beneficiary of several political action committees, most of which were related to business or insurance. The Chamber of Commerce-backed Commonwealth Leaders Cup PAC contributed $21,800 while For a Better Pennsylvania Fund PAC gave $20,000. Comcast chipped in $10,000 and the FirstEnergy PAC $9,500. Finally, the Erie Insurance PAC gave $5,000.
The committee’s biggest expenditure in 2013 was a total of $52,449 for services from Pathfinder Communications. It also paid $29,330 to Susquehanna Polling & Research, a top GOP polling firm in Pennsylvania. Communication Concepts was also paid $7,700 for polling.
Minority Leader Rep. Frank Dermody gave $73,750 while Minority Whip Rep. Mike Hanna contributed $63,750 through his committee as well as his leadership PAC, The H Team.
As for PACs, the Democrats received the most from unions and lawyers. The HDCC collected contributions of $12,500 from AFSCME AFL-CIO Council 113, $10,000 from the PSEA PAC, and $2,500 from the Teamsters PAC. It also received $5,000 from LAWPAC.
The Democrats also had corporate supporters; Comcast donated $3,500 and PECOPAC sent $2,000.
HDCC’s fundraising total received a boost from two special election candidates. Both Dan Miller (D-Allegheny) and Kevin Schreiber (D-York) were elected in special elections back in May 2013; each replaced a Democrat. They gave the HDCC $85,050 and $55,425 respectively. Most likely, they contributed the cost of staff salaries and direct mail so that staffers were technically on HDCC payroll (making it simpler for tax and compliance purposes) and mailer enjoyed the benefit of the party’s bulk mail permit.
Without the special elections contributions, HDCC’s total raised in 2013 was $605,611.
Meanwhile, the party spent $41,896 on consulting fees during 2013. $20,000 went to two prominent Democratic media firms Adelstein Liston ($15,000) and Devin Mulvey ($5,000). Another $10,300 went to surveying research conducted by Myers Research & Strategic Services. Finally, $18,000 was paid to Thirty-Ninth Street Strategies for polling.
Correction: An earlier version of this story inaccurately reported that the HRCC raised only $616,009 in 2013. The above total includes numbers from the committee’s cycle 2 and cycle 3 reports in addition to its cycle 7 year end report.