Democratic Senate hopeful Katie McGinty came out in favor of overturning the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling, but her campaign has enlisted the financial support of the head of a Pennsylvania dark money group.
"Since the Supreme Court’s ruling on Citizens United, outside special interests groups, wealthy individuals and corporations have spent unlimited amounts of money to influence our democratic election process," McGinty said Thursday. "It is time to keep money out of politics and demand transparency, fairness, and accountability. In the Senate, I would fully support overturning the Citizens United decision."
Interestingly, a major McGinty campaign fundraiser cited transparency as a reason that her group Philadelphia 3.0 chose not to disclose the donors responsible for flooding elections with more than $500,000 in 2015.
Alison Perelman, the executive director of Philadelphia 3.0, a 501(c)4 group that is exempt from campaign contribution limits, said that it chose not to disclose its funders out of fear that the information might "distract" voters from the group’s mission.
"We think it distracts from our mission, which is to talk about these issues that no one is discussing," Perelman said. "As an organization, we’re not about individuals."
Perelman refused to "confirm or deny the involvement of anyone in the organization."
McGinty's distaste of dark money didn't stop her from letting Perelman host a campaign fundraiser in November that was attended by former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, who is serving as McGinty's campaign chairman.
On Twitter, McGinty characterized undisclosed money's role in politics as a "betrayal of our democracy."
Six years later, #CitizensUnited remains a betrayal of our democracy. Im standing strong for transparency & fairness in our electoral system
— Katie McGinty (@KatieMcGintyPA) January 21, 2016
The McGinty campaign did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
The man behind the efforts of Philadelphia 3.0 is Joseph Zuritzky, a Philadelphia real estate mogul who is no fan of Joe Sestak, McGinty's opponent in the race. Of the $200,000 the major political donor has given to Democratic candidates over the past three decades, only $250 went to Sestak.
Sestak has long been an outspoken critic of Citizens United and called it "disastrous" immediately following the ruling in 2010.
John Fetterman, the other candidate in Pennsylvania's crowded Democratic primary race, also chose to use the Citizens United ruling to his advantage on the anniversary of the ruling.
"Our politics have become more about which candidates can cash the biggest checks than those with the biggest, boldest ideas," Fetterman wrote in a fundraising email to supporters. "I'm pretty certain this isn't what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they were laying the foundation of our country."