HARRISBURG – Addressing an issue revealed during the 2020 election, the House State Government Committee advanced legislation authored by Reps. Eric Nelson (R-Westmoreland), Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) and Jim Struzzi (R-Indiana) to prohibit all county election officials and the secretary of Commonwealth from accepting private contributions and donations to administer elections.
House Bill 2044
would specifically prohibit any contribution to counties or the state for the purposes of operating elections, employing staff, equipping polling places or engaging in voter outreach.
“The lure of private money has seeped into our election system and it must be stopped.” Nelson said. “Email evidence has proven our state’s highest offices are vulnerable to perversion by deep pockets with private election contracts. It is just plain wrong, and this bill will stop it.”
Data indicates that money from nonprofit entities, such as the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), was granted in a generous manner to only certain counties. The three members point out that Philadelphia County received nearly $9 per registered voter from the CTCL while several other counties received less than $2 per registered voter.
Certain counties also were made aware of the funding opportunity before others.
“Philadelphia’s $10 million grant and Delaware County’s $2.2 million grant were awarded nearly two weeks before the funding opportunity was even made available to all county election offices,” Owlett said. “It’s fundamentally wrong to allow outside interests to have ANY say in how our Commonwealth – or any state – administers elections for their citizens. And this bill would make sure it never happens again.”
“I want to thank the State Government Committee for their support of House Bill 2044,” Struzzi said. “Earlier this year, I was stunned to learn the amount of outside, private money being channeled into Pennsylvania before the 2020 election to select counties to administer and promote elections. This is unacceptable. House Bill 2044 would help restore the integrity of our elections by removing the potential for an outside entity to use their personal finances as political leverage.”
The measure is now pending action in the full House.
To watch the press conference, click here
Representative Eric Nelson
57th Legislative District
Representative Clint Owlett
68th Legislative District
Representative Jim Struzzi
62nd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Nelson Media Contact: Jordan Frei
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Owlett Media Contact: Patricia Hippler
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Struzzi Media Contact: Scott Little
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