The Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs.
Simply put, the group could be a deciding factor in the race for the governor’s mansion in Harrisburg.
And after interviewing almost all of the Republican candidates for governor, Commonwealth Partners has thrown its considerable weight in the direction of Bill McSwain.
“We’re confident that as voters meet Bill McSwain and learn about his record, they’ll conclude he’s the best choice to serve as Pennsylvania’s next governor,” said Matthew J. Brouillette.
According to its website, Brouillette is the founder, president and chief executive officer of the organization. The group comprises “state and local business and community leaders, philanthropists and successful entrepreneurs, who are dedicated to improving the economic environment and educational opportunities for all Pennsylvanians.” One of their main focuses are causes that support free markets and school choice.
More importantly, the group’s political action committees have become a cash funnel for Jeffrey Yass, a cofounder of Susquehanna International Group, an equity trading firm. Yass, 63, who resides in Haverford, has a fortune valued at $12 billion, according to Forbes.
His philanthropy and political contributions are prolific and include gifts totaling $31.1 million in 2019 and 2020, focusing primarily on Club For Growth Action and Protect Freedom Political Action Committee. The latter committee ran ads supporting Georgia senate candidates David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, as well as new House members Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina and Lauren Boebert of Colorado.
Yass also contributed $13.5 million in 2021 to the Students First PAC, a group advocating for school choice issues that he has supported for some time. Students First turned around and donated $10 million in November to the Commonwealth Children’s Choice Fund – one of Commonwealth Partners’ two PACs along with the Commonwealth Leaders Fund.
McSwain, 52, grew up in West Chester, where he still lives and graduated from West Chester Henderson High School, Yale University and Harvard Law School. He is married and has four children.
“Bill is very honored to be able to share his message,” said Rachel Tripp, McSwain’s campaign spokeswoman. “With the combination of the Commonwealth Partners support and over 10,000 donors, this is the start of a long-term strategy.”
Commonwealth Partners, through two political action committees, spent nearly $2 million to help Republican Kevin Brobson win a state Supreme Court seat. That amount made it the largest single donor in the race, accounting for more than one-in-four dollars spent for the seat.
In fact, the Commonwealth Leaders Fund and the Commonwealth Choice Children’s Fund combined to spend $14.8 million last year after funneling out $13.4 million in 2020. The Children’s Fund reported $19.8 million cash on hand entering the new year.
And now, after receiving an endorsement, McSwain has the wherewithal to spend $6.8 million on television, radio and internet ads in the sprint to the May 17 primary. This is the first major collaboration since the endorsement and is funded by both the Commonwealth Leaders Fund ($4.8 million) and the McSwain for Governor campaign ($2 million), according to communications director Rachel Tripp. That is more than many of his opponents have in the bank, much less their ad budgets.