U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-4th Congressional District (Photo: York Daily Record File)
(Undated) -- Midstate Congressman Scott Perry reported a little more than $35,500 in campaign contributions so far this year. Almost 90 percent of that is money given to the congressman by political action committees -- special interest groups.
And many of those PACs represent businesses and industries that could benefit or suffer from any rules and regulations that come out of the transportation and infrastructure subcommittees that Perry sits on.
The third-term Republican congressman, representing York and Adams counties, is a member of the subcommittees on: aviation; highways and transit; and railroads, pipelines and hazardous materials.
In a statement on Wednesday, Perry's campaign committee said he doesn't let PACs influence his decisions.
PAC contributions to Perry's campaign committee, reported to the Federal Elections Commission for the first quarter of 2017, have come from the:
Airline Pilots Association PAC - $2,000;
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association PAC - $1,000;
Allied Pilots Association PAC - $1,000;
Association of American Railroads PAC - $1,000;
BNSF Railway Co. PAC - $2,000;
Norfolk Southern Corporation Good Government Fund - $2,000; and
Union Pacific Corporation Fund for Effective Government - $1,999.
Perry, who recently voted, under the Congressional Review Act, to allow the sale of internet users' personal information, also accepted $1,000 from the Comcast Corp. PAC and $3,500 from the Amazon PAC.
The campaign stated that, among Perry's fellow Republican and Democrat congressmen, his "PAC contributions were the second lowest in the first quarter."
"Since he first announced his candidacy for Congress in 2012, Congressman Perry has received more than double the number of individual contributions from citizens than PAC contributions," the committee said.
According to Federal Election Committee campaign finance reports, Perry's individual contributions as compared to PAC donations during prior election cycles were:
$265,365 (individual) to $369,850 (PACs) in 2015-16;
$236,603 to $330,125 in 2013-14; and
$215,474 to $251,081 in 2012.
A group of people that share similar political interests sometimes form a committee to raise money for a certain political candidate. Sean Heisey, York Daily Record
"Scott Perry has always put special interests ahead of his constituents," said Beth Melena, communications director for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.
"Rather than focusing on what matters most to the people of Cumberland, Adams, Dauphin and York counties, Scott Perry works only for the special interests that line his campaign coffers," Melena said.
Other PAC contributions to Perry included: $1,000 from the AmerisourceBergen PAC - pharmaceutical sourcing and distribution; $2,500 from the PAC of American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons; and, $2,000 from the Genesis Healthcare Inc. PAC. Perry also received a $1,500 contribution from a PAC representing Lowes and $1,000 from a PAC representing Home Depot.
With this year's contributions combined with funds left over from last year, Perry has more than $226,000 in his war chest.
The PAC money pocketed by Perry's campaign is a complete reversal from how his predecessors - Rep. Bill Goodling, 1975 to 2001; and Rep. Todd Platts, 2001 to 2013 - raised campaign funds.
Both Platts and Goodling refused to accept PAC money, relying largely instead on individual contributions.
For the first quarter of 2017, Perry reported $3,000 in individual contributions made by individuals including: $500 from Dr. Nick Pandelidis, a York-area physician and frequent York Daily Record guest columnist; $1,000 from Gregory Sutliff of Sutliff Chevrolet in Camp Hill; and $500 from Jason Pavluchuk, a Gainesville, Va., lobbyist.
Republican Congressman Lou Barletta, who represents Harrisburg and Columbia, Montour and Wyoming counties, also is a member of the highway and transit and railroads, pipelines and hazardous material subcommittees. He has taken in $82,200 in PAC money this year.
Barletta did also report two contributions of cigars from International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers PAC totaling $962.
Reps. Lloyd Smucker and Bill Shuster, both Republicans, also are on the highway and transit and railroads, pipelines and hazardous material subcommittees. Their 2017 quarterly campaign reports had not been processed by the FEC as of Monday. Smucker represents most of Lancaster County, and Shuster represents Franklin County and areas to the west and north of it.
When asked about PAC contributions to Perry's campaign, the Patriots for Perry released the following statement:
"The York Daily Record's implication that Congressman Perry is somehow beholden to special interests seems directly taken from his political opponent's playbook. Your newspaper has called for the Democrat party to field challengers for Congressman Perry on several occasions, and you now once again imply issues with his integrity.
"Congressman Perry is beholden to the hard-working citizens of the 4th District - no one else; to imply that he can be bought is unprofessional, irrational, unfair and downright wrong."
This story is part of a partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record.
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