Have you ever donated money to a political campaign? Have you ever wondered how your money was being spent? Recently, I reviewed the campaign finance reports for the campaign committees of two local politicians, State Senator David Argall and state Representative Jerry Knowles. The campaign finance reports are public information. You can examine the reports at the web site of the Pennsylvania Department of State: www.campaignfinance.state.pa.us .
My review revealed some interesting facts. In 2009, Mr. Argall received $4,030.16 for mileage reimbursement and travel expenses from his campaign committee. In other words, Mr. Argall charged his campaign committee for his mileage and travel expenses. Mr. Argall's campaign committee also paid $2,263.08 for cell phone expenses, $180.47 for wine and $833.33 for an event at The Mint. A web search revealed that The Mint is an exclusive restaurant in New York.
Between June and December 2009, Mr. Knowles' committee paid $1,387.18 in cell phone expenses. Mr. Knowles' committee also reported expenses of $47.01 for a campaign meal at Sammy's Authentic Italian Restaurant, Harrisburg, $35 for a campaign lunch at McGrath's Pub in Harrisburg and $21.98 for another campaign lunch at Scott's Grille in Harrisburg. That is a lot of campaign meals in Harrisburg for a district in Schuylkill and Berks counties.
These reimbursements and expenses are in addition to the salary, per diems, retirement, health insurance, etc. that these legislators receive in their official capacity.
In summary, some of your campaign donations are paying for mileage and travel, cell phones and meals for these gentlemen.
Dr. Dante Picciano
(Editor's Note: Dr. Picciano is an independent candidate for Rep. Knowle's seat.)