Trevor Southerland, the executive director of the Pennsylvania House Democratic Campaign Committee, was dismissed this week after it was discovered during audits that proper financial procedures had not been followed.
He had served in that post with the caucus’ fundraising organization since May 2021. Southerland helped lead the House Democrats’ effort to capture majority control of that chamber for the first time more than a decade by flipping 12 seats that had been under Republican control.
Adam Bonin, lawyer for the HDCC, said in a statement, “For several months, HDCC leadership has worked to tighten internal controls and improve record keeping to ensure full and complete compliance with all applicable campaign finance laws. A comprehensive campaign compliance audit is underway to ensure that all reports of the committee are accurate, complete, and in full compliance.”
Bonin declined to say if law enforcement has been contacted about the situation or how much money was involved.
Broad + Liberty has reported that Southerland can not provide receipts for nearly $150,000 in reimbursements paid to him over a three-year period.
The outlet reported in late July that Southerland had received more than $365,000 in payments categorized as “reimbursements” since coming onboard with the organization in 2021. That figure stood out as most campaign committees rarely have employees who request expense reimbursements over $1,000, but the HDCC’s campaign finance reports were strewn with five-figure expense reimbursements to Southerland in amounts like $19,682 or $27,987.
Pennsylvania law requires that a campaign committee show “Each and every expenditure, the date made, the full name and address of the person to whom made and the purpose for which such expenditure was made.”
By bundling together so many payments into a single expense report, the line-by-line itemization that is supposed to provide transparency to the public is erased.
Prior to being the executive director of the Virginia House Democratic Caucus, when Democrats flipped the House of Delegates for the first time in twenty years, Southerland served as the finance director for Virginia House Democrats from 2014 to 2017.
In 2013 – 2014, Southerland was the Finance Director for the Michigan Senate Democratic Fund, and prior to that was the Annual Fund Director of the Democratic Party of Georgia.