PA-15: Dent Accepted Massachusetts Trip Gift from Big Donor

Charlie-DentRep. Charlie Dent’s took a flight to Nantucket with top campaign donor, David Jaindl and it’s causing quite the stir.

According to a Politico report, the trip was approved last year by the House Ethics Committee through a waiver.

While Dent served on the Ethics Committee at the time, and is now the Chairman, his spokesman Shawn Millan states that he had “nothing to do with the review or approval of the waiver request and received the same consideration as every other similar request.”

The waiver was issued because of a “personal friendship” between Rep. Dent and Jaindl, according to the Congressman’s financial disclosure form. Apparently, the two have been friends for more than 20 years. This is also the first time in his congressional career that Dent has disclosed a gift on this form.

Jaindl, the campaign donor, paid for a $5,500 flight for Dent and his wife from Allentown, Pennsylvania, to Nantucket, Massachusetts. From 2003 to 2014, Jaindl has also filled Dent’s reelection account with $25,700 in political contributions. Throughout the entirety of his congressional career, the Federal Election Commission logs $134,000 in donations from Jaindl.

When Dent was a State Senator, he maneuvered to rename a portion of the Route 222 bypass to honor Fred Jaindl, a deceased member of the Jaindl family.

Politico’s piece also points out that the Jaindls held a fundraiser for Dent’s reelection campaign in 2014 called “Run for the Roses”, where donors pledged between $500 and $2,600.

Congressman Charlie Dent represents Pennsylvania’s 15th District, which includes parts of Berks, Dauphin, Lebanon, Lehigh, and Northampton counties.

5 Responses

  1. Agree with Tim. Dent’s family took a trip with long-time friends which normal folks do all the time. But the rules do say, that Congressman, like Dent, have to get permission to do this. OK as far as that goes, but here Dent sought and received permission well in advance; following both the letter and the spirit of the rules completely. Politico seems to be writing more and more of these thinly drawn stories, i.e. “Sun Rises! Shines on Congressman who is Member of ‘Secretive’ Energy Committee.” Feels a bit like the drive for more “clicks” is getting ahead of their better judgment.

  2. @Tim – Dent is my Rep. He followed the rules. It is our rules that are broken, not Dent, or anyone else who plays by them. No harm no foul, on his part. We need better rules, or folks like Jaindl can continue to buy access, which he also appears to have done “by the rules”.

    As @Vanessa below says below, I can verify that I couldn’t even accept a slice of pizza from a vendor while I was at DEP. No problem’; probably a good idea, as that vendor was trying to sell stuff to me, and I would have been using your tax cash to buy it. But, then, my Congressman should not be able accept a trip to Nantucket – or a slice of pizza – from someone who gets a highway named after his loved one, paid for by your tax money.

    Our whole campaign finance system is broken, and could be fixed with simple “Good for the goose, good for the gander” actions on our part. That we can’t or won’t is pathetic.

  3. I know both Mr. Jaindl and Congressman Dent, and I can tell you that their families have lived in Lehigh County, in Pennsylvania, for generations. Both men have been highly involved in many community organizations for years, including the local boy scouts council. Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with this “gift” to the Congressman and his wife. Mr. Dent reported it properly, and in a timely manner. He followed the rules.

  4. Vanessa says “State Employees are not allowed to drink a cup of free coffee, water, Danish, etc”. Not only should State House and Senate members be included, but also United States Congress! No wonder these politicians stay in office, I would too if I could get free trips and money for my campaign.

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