Democratic Senate hopeful and former lobbyist Katie McGinty spent Thursday night at a fundraiser hosted by a top Pennsylvania lobbyist who represents a coal company that was recently attacked by likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Holly Kinser runs her own lobbying firm, The Kinser Group, and writes on its website that she has "earned the reputation as one of the best lobbyists in Pennsylvania." She hosted the fundraiser at her firm’s office, located inside Philadelphia’s iconic Bellevue hotel.
Among Kinser’s clients is the Patriot Coal Corporation, which went through its second bankruptcy in three years last October and was forced to restructure due to a distressed coal market. Its plan drew the attention of Clinton, who called it "outrageous" and said that it "must be stopped."
"Patriot Coal is trying to take $18 million of the $22 million put aside for retired coal miners, wives and widows and use it to pay its lawyers instead," Clinton said of the plan. "Ensuring health care and retirement security should be the first priority in a bankruptcy proceeding, not the last."
The company says it avoided a liquidation sale by selling off parts of its mines and also its coal reserves, but its union employees that wound up working for new companies were not given the benefits they were promised by Patriot Coal.
Kinser contributed the maximum allowed $2,700 to Clinton’s presidential campaign in January.
McGinty, who worked as an environmental adviser to President Bill Clinton, has also formally endorsed Clinton.
— Katie McGinty (@KatieMcGintyPA) January 18, 2016
Neither the McGinty campaign nor Kinser returned requests for comment.
Kinser’s ties to McGinty, who had already received $1,000 from McGinty before Thursday’s fundraiser, are likely rooted in Kinser’s close relationship with former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who serves as McGinty’s campaign chairman.
Local papers allege that Rendell had an affair with Kinser while she was married to then-state House Democratic leader Bill DeWeese. The rumors began after DeWeese drunkenly complained to a journalist at the 2000 Democratic convention "Ed Rendell’s been fucking my wife."
The rumors resurfaced in 2011 after Rendell and his wife divorced. It was reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer that "Rendell has long been the subject of speculation involving younger women, typically leggy blondes."
"As mayor, he was often spotted around the city with Holly Kinser, a lobbyist who was then married to and later divorced," wrote a separate reporter following the 2011 divorce.
Both Rendell and Kinser have always denied that they ever had a sexual relationship. However, Rendell was featured in her Facebook cover photo earlier this year.
The picture was taken at her 50th birthday party last January, which was attended by "many notable political figures" in Philadelphia.
Also in the picture is former Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter, who has also endorsed McGinty. The Kinser Firm also lists the city of Philadelphia as one of its clients.
Though McGinty has successfully managed to get both the state and national party to rally around her candidacy, it hasn’t helped her pull away from her opponents in the polls or financially.
Rendell himself has admitted that McGinty’s campaign has a fundraising problem and just told the Philadelphia Inquirer that if she is unable to spend $3.5 to $4 million on television ads in the coming weeks, "she won't win."