Katie McGinty had an impressive fundraising haul last year which should solidify her place in the top tier of Democratic gubernatorial candidates.
The big surprise, however, is that the former DEP Secretary received so much money from the state’s coal and gas industries.
McGinty has a long record of environmental work that goes back to her job as legislative assistant to then-Senator Al Gore. She also chaired the White House Council on Environmental Quality during the Clinton Administration. Her environmental work is so well known that when the EPA building was named after President Clinton, he declared that she was one of only a few people who could’ve had the building named after her.
Therefore, it is somewhat surprising to see the contributions of individuals like Doug Farnham in McGinty’s financial report. Farnham, a vice chair of the PA Coal Alliance, contributed $100,000 and loaned another $100K to the campaign.
Additionally, Ray Bologna, President of the Bologna Coal Company gave $120,000 to McGinty’s campaign. These contributions will likely raise eyebrows in environmental circles and prompt criticism from other Democratic candidates, specifically fellow DEP Secretary John Hanger.
Another large contributor to McGinty’s candidacy was insurance giant Brian Duperreault who gave $200,000 in contributions and also loaned the campaign $100K.
If McGinty is pulling in the poll numbers and donors that usually denote top-tier status, she is also shelling out the amount of money that a major candidate must spend. Her campaign spent $596,429 last year, including over $100,000 on wages.
Ultimately, the campaign has $1.77 million cash on hand as well as $435K in debt – including $235K that McGinty loaned to her own campaign.
Update from CapitolWire:
Former Pennsylvania environmental protection chief Katie McGinty took campaign contributions from the head of a mining company tied to a massive chemical spill in West Virginia, but has since returned the money.
James Clifford Forrest III, president Kittanning-based Rosebud Mining Co., made two $20,000 contributions last year to McGinty’s gubernatorial campaign, according to campaign finance reports.
Her campaign manager said the money was returned in mid-January once it was clear of the connection.