Friday, October 25, 2019

Sen. Scarnati Issues Statement On Campaign Finance Reform

On October 25, Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) issued the following statement on campaign finance reform in Pennsylvania-- 
“This week stories regarding campaign expenses and finances were featured in various newspapers across the state.  As stated in these stories, I have adhered to all of Pennsylvania’s campaign laws, including both the letter and the spirit.  
“It is worth noting that my campaign retains a paid Certified Public Accountant to oversee finances.  She has complete autonomy to determine that each reimbursement is in compliance with the relevant law. 
“Further, in the last six years, two comprehensive independent campaign audits (2013, 2016-18) for my contributions and expenses have been completed, which determined all expenditures were legally proper and appropriately recorded.
“Early this year my campaign came to a mutual agreement with two reporters, to allow them open access to all of my campaign expense records for the past three years. After making thousands of pages of documents available, these reporters were then provided with a copy of every document they requested, and to date have not remitted payment for those copies.  
“Months later, additional documentation for the same period was requested by the same reporting team and those copies were also given.
“Over the last year, my staff and I have provided answers to dozens of questions regarding this matter. In addition, the two clean audit reports were made available to the reporters who inspected my expenses.  It is unfortunate that in numerous ways, the articles written gave readers a false impression that we were not forthright in disclosure.
“In May, we started the process of initiating reforms through unanimous Senate passage of Senate Bill 178 to ensure campaign finance reports are available online. 
“Today, my Democrat colleague Senator Costa announced his plans to introduce campaign finance reform legislation.  I welcome the discussion to make campaign expenditures more transparent to the public.  
“It is important to note that any debate should also include the issue of public sector unions’ contributions and their influence in the electoral process.
“Our current campaign finance law would benefit from greater structure, including clarifying terms within the law. As we saw this week in the House with Senate Bill 421, it is difficult to make changes that everyone can come to agreement on.  
“If the Governor, as well as members from both parties and chambers of the legislature collectively work together to strengthen transparency regarding campaign finance, I am willing once again to actively engage in these conversations and to advance such product.”

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