Friday, October 27, 2006

Dent & Dertinger: The Battle for the Bucks

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingThe last time I told you about the battle for the bucks between Congressional contenders Dent and Dertinger, the ratio was 100 to 1. Dertinger has since made some strides, but Dent still has 21 times more money. Dent raised about $1.2 million by the end of September compared to Dertinger's $56 thousand.

The main source of Dent's income? Individuals living in his district. Dertinger's biggest contributors are nonlocal trade unions. Dent has raked in $620 thousand in individual contributions while Dertinger has pulled in only $11 thousand.

Previously, I questioned Dertinger's heavy reliance on union funds. But Dertinger explained that he is not only a trade union employee himself, but a third generation union electrician proud of his union connections. Can't argue with that.

But how about Dent and all that money he takes from the oil and gas industry? I had asked him to pledge against that sort of money, and complained when he failed to respond to my emails. But Dent did respond. He actually called and even met me. What I did not realize, and what Congressman Dent explained, was that he receives over five hundred emails every day. That's almost as much email as I get, although most of mine comes from admiring females and bill collectors.

And as Dertinger had a good explanation for his union connections, Dent was equally convincing about his "oil and gas" connection. His grandfather was a longtime UGI employee. Air Products, his biggest contributor, is actually headquartered in his district, and so is PPL. Is he supposed to reject contributions from major employers within his own district?

What Dertinger and Dent said about their major contributors is entirely consistent with what they said during their debate before the Pen Argyl Area Concerned Citizens. There were no surprises. I wish I could say the same for Green party candidate Greta Browne. She convincingly misled voters into thinking her campaign was funded on a whisper and a prayer. We have since learned that greens were actually funded with over $150 thousand in money from the likes of war profiteers like Halliburton and Blackwater.

The only candidate whose finances are questionable is the green. Strange world.

8 comments:

LSTresidentPIA said...

Is this the same Bernie I know? "Is he suppose to reject contributins from major employers in his own district?" Yes, depending on what these major employers are expecting in return.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Fortunately, the feds do have limits on the amount that can be contributed by any one entity in a calendar year. I wasn't really terribly bothered by Dent or Dertinger's finance reports because there were no surprises and each had plausible explanations for contributions. I'm from the Stoffa school - I don't think any candidatesshould accepte money from special interests. I think it's wrong in politics. But that's not going to change anytime soon. After all the crap from the grens, I was relieved to see two FEC reports in which there were no surprises.

LSTresidentPIA said...

Do you shuffle your feet and walk out in the middle of conversations too? Gee, maybe the township or the county should accept money from Toll so we can save the bridge, but then again they would probably rather tear it down and build a new one. Mr. Stoffa is the same person who thinks I am single-handedly going to save the bridge. He doesn't seem to get is role in the whole situation.

You can't come up with better explantion than people shouldn't accept money from special interests?

Bernie O'Hare said...

LST, I'm sorry but I'm not following you. I'll try to respond but don't know exactly what you are trying to say.

As someone pointed out not too long ago, we need to define what we mean by special interests. Your interest in saving the bridge on Meadows Road, for example is a "speical interest." My interest in open and accountable government is a "special interest." They are not limited to big money corporations.

I believe the role that money plays in politics needs to be reduced. That was the whole point of my recent post about our local big spenders. Now in the congreessional race, two candidates are funded heavily by special interests. In Dertinger's case, it's unions. In Dent's case, it's the gas and oil industry. I asked them both about why they take this money and these are the explanations I got from them. Although I would try to replace our current campaign financing system with clean elections, these guys are using the system that currently is available. And there were no surprises. What they said at the debate is what I found in the FEC records.

LVDem said...

Thank you Bernie for recognizing that there are more than big business/union special interests. Concerned citizens, when they gather together, form special interests. As a student of Political Science, it always bugged me when the words "special interests" were thrown around. My advocate is your special interest.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I tend to use the term "special interests" as though it is something spawned by Satan. But it was a conservative commenter on this site who took me to task, and quite rightly, for the way I throw that term around. The Sierra Club is a "special interest." Common Cause is a "special interest."

It is when specail interests use overwhelming financial resources to influence both popular opinion and ligislation that we run into a problem. I don't buy the "free speech" argument because all this money tends to stifel the views of those with no dough.

This is why blogs are great. The cost nothing or very little, and it's very possible to get your message out. I'm surprised more pols don't use them, especially those who are not well financed. It's a great way of building grassroots.

House of Crayons said...

lstres,
The way I see it Bernie questions the ethics of companies that give via idividuals (mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, and owners). Air Products or UGI giving as Air Products and UGI is playing between the likes. Mike the builder, wife Greta the builder, cousin and niece Jim and Sue the builders all maxing their contributions is stacking the deck.

Do I read you right O'Hare??

Bernie O'Hare said...

H/C, Where there's a law, there's usually a legal way to evade it. A lot of these big companies or PACs figure out ways to do it. I guess it's all that money that really bothers me. These guys build up massive warchests for jobs that pay a pittance. Why?