The Republican State Leadership Committee, which caused a stir last week by launching an attack ad on the Democratic candidate for state Attorney General, has deep pockets to impact races around the country. Where does that money come from? Ask Gov. Corbett.
Corbett was the headline guest at a July 11 fund-raiser for the RSLC at Comcast's headquarters here in Philadelphia. The "suggested contribution" for the non-profit RSLC, based in Washington, D.C., was $5,000 per person. Corbett appeared with Oklahoma Gov. Scott Pruitt, chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association, which is part of the RSLC.
Corbett certainly owed the RSLC committee a major political favor. The group dumped $480,000 into his 2004 campaign for state Attorney General with two weeks to go until the general election. A judge then ordered the RSLC to reveal where the money came from. The primary source, it turned out, was Audrey McClendon, chairman of Chesapeake Energy Co., now a major player in the Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling going on in Pennsylvania under Corbett's watch.
The RSLC started running the ad, slamming Democrat Kathleen Kane as soft on rape cases, on Thursday. The group changed the ad Monday after the Lackawanna County District Attorney's Office complained that it misrepresented Kane's experience there and the father of a victim in one of the cases denounced the ad as a lie.
The RSLC is spending $558,700 to run the commercial about Kane on four Philadelphia television stations for about a week. That's a tremendous boost to her Republican opponent, Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed, Corbett's pick for Attorney General.
Kane spent more than $2.2 million of her own money to win the primary election. Her campaign Tuesday reported raising $1.47 million from the primary to Sept. 17, without investing any more of her own money. Kane's campaign said it raised another $300,000 in the last week and tied that money to "outrage" about the RSLC ad.
We will update this post when Freed's campaign responds to our request for his fund-raising totals from the campaign finance reports due to the Pennsylvania Department of State today.
UPDATE, 1:40 pm: Freed's campaign raised $869,900 from May 15 to Sept. 17 and now has $1,018,357 on hand as of last week.