Health - December 5, 2014

Governor’s race breaks spending records

This week the final post-election campaign-finance reports were filed and with that came record breaking news. The 2014 governor’s race broke the spending record for a gubernatorial election. The race hit a reported $82.3 million. The last five weeks of the campaign saw both candidates spend just over $4 million each; Governor Corbett came in at $4.3 million and Governor-elect Wolf at $4.6 million. Wolf did spend more throughout the race than Corbett did, coming in at $32.5 million and $28 million respectively.  The other three Democratic primary candidates spent just under $22 million.  Those numbers do not include spending by outside sources. The last record setting gubernatorial campaign was in 2002 between Governor Ed Rendell and Republican Mike Fisher. Rendell still holds the record for individual campaign spending at $40 million.

The Wolf campaign also made a $10,000 contribution to from Democratic primary candidate, Katie McGinty after the election; that contribution eliminated her campaign debt. McGinty has been tapped as Wolf’s chief of staff. A Wolf spokesman said that Wolf “didn’t want there to be an appearance of any conflict of interest, or for Katie to have to spend time retiring campaign debt. “According to Wolf is also reaching out to his top donors to pay for the transition rather than use the $250,000 in taxpayer money set aside.


Auditor General says Pa. Education Department staff ‘uncooperative’ during audit

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale has called the Pennsylvania Department of Education staff “uncooperative” during the course of the recent audit. DePasquale said that of all the departments his office has worked with, PDE has “been the lease cooperative;” he also said that staff has been unresponsive to requests for information and delayed in getting his office what it needs.  The audit is two-fold, looking at how PDE “helps struggling districts improve” and at special assistants to the department. The review of special assistants comes after Corbett’s adviser on higher education and former education secretary, Ron Tomalis, resigned in August after questions arose about how much work he was doing. Department spokesman Tim Eller called the audit expansion “succumbing to political tactics;” he went on to say that the department has been cooperative and responded to all requests from DePasquale’s office. DePasquale said that the Corbett administration had been very cooperative otherwise and that his office has the power to issue subpoenas as a last resort. The Auditor General’s office has until January 20 to complete interviews and conclude the investigation.