Meehan Ignores 80 Percent of Americans to Side with Corporate Donors on Campaign Finance Reform

Meehan Ignores 80 Percent of Americans to Side with Corporate Donors on Campaign Finance Reform

Supports anonymous, unlimited corporate spending on political advertising

Springfield, PA – Instead of listening to 80 percent of the American public who want to restrict the amount of money corporations can spend on political advertising, Pat Meehan on Sunday publicly declared that he preferred bowing to the demands of his large corporate donors, and the shadowy organizations they use to anonymously donate money to influence elections nationwide.

In a news article that ran in the Delaware County Daily Times on Sunday1, Meehan’s campaign defended $300,000 worth of political attack ads being run by Americans for Job Security against Bryan Lentz, the Democratic nominee for Congress in the 7th District. The ad and its contents are the direct result of a deeply unpopular Supreme Court ruling on the nation’s campaign finance laws earlier this year that a Washington Post poll found more than 80 percent of the nation opposed2. The Supreme Court’s decision rejected Congress’s efforts to limit corporate spending on political advertising.
The details surrounding the Americans for Job Security ad being run in the 7th Congressional District illustrate why.

Although they are spending $300,000 on television ads, Americans for Job Security is not required to disclose its donors. Until the recent Supreme Court decision, the group, and others like it, were barred from directly advocating for or against a candidate’s election. As the direct attack on Lentz’s campaign shows, that long-standing restriction has been lifted by the Supreme Court ruling.

Earlier in the week, Lentz called on Meehan to join him in rejecting the ads from Americans for Job Security until they disclosed where their funding was coming from so voters could know who was spending so much money to influence the election in the 7th District. When a reporter gave Meehan the opportunity to do so, however, he defended the ads and the anonymous donors who paid for them.

Meehan’s decision may not be surprising considering that corporations remain a key source of funding for his campaign. According to FEC reports, more than $136,000 had been donated to Meehan’s campaign by corporate PAC’s through the end of July.

“The fact that Pat Meehan can ignore the collective will of more than three quarters of the nation is, quite frankly, disturbing coming from somebody who is asking to be sent to Congress to be a guardian of the public interest,” said Kevin McTigue, Bryan Lentz’s campaign manager. “There’s very few things that 80 percent of Americans agree on, but the danger of letting corporations spend unlimited amounts of money anonymously on advertising in support of a political candidate and the corrupting influence that that can have is one of them. There’s no conceivable reason to ignore that conclusion.”

Bryan Lentz, the Democratic nominee for Congress, has been a vocal advocate for reforming the nation’s campaign finance laws to limit the amount of money corporations spend on political ads, and to require that groups that spend money on political ads report their donors.

Pat Meehan’s campaign has shown no sign of slowing down its efforts to raise money from corporations. Last week, Meehan traveled to Washington, DC, to host a fundraiser sponsored by PACs from the processed food industry that required $1,000 per PAC to attend3.

A former Airborne Ranger, criminal prosecutor and Iraq War veteran, Bryan Lentz currently serves in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from Delaware County. He was awarded both the Bronze Star for Service and the War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal for his military service. He lives in Swarthmore with his wife Jennifer and their son Thomas.

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