Why is a Phila. legislator's PAC spending $ in Montco?

Posted: February 06, 2014

Suburban voters won't have any say in State Rep. Brendan Boyle's reelection bid this year - new legislative boundaries took a sliver of Montgomery County away from his Northeast Philadelphia district.

So why did Boyle's reelection campaign fund donate to Montgomery County Democratic groups last year?

As it happens, Boyle is running for Congress there.

Boyle is seeking his party's nomination to succeed fellow Democrat Allyson Schwartz, who is giving up her seat in Congress to run for governor.

Monies from a state campaign PAC aren't supposed to be spent on runs for Congress - any spending on those races is required to go through federal PACs like the one Boyle launched last April when he announced his bid for Schwartz's Montgomery County-based seat.

The 13th Congressional District includes Norristown and five other municipalities where Boyle's state legislative PAC donated money to Democratic party organizations - Abington-Rockledge, as well as Lower Moreland, Cheltenham, Jenkintown and Upper Dublin, and the Montgomery County Democratic Committee.

The Abington-Rockledge area has been part of Boyle's legislative district, but was removed in the latest redistricting, which takes effect with this year's elections. That means voters there are still inside his district - but he won't be on their ballots.

The amounts of his legislative PAC'S contributions to Montgomery County groups are relatively small – $2,445 in donations to seven party organizations, less than five percent of the $51,263 that the political action committee, Friends of Brendan Boyle, reported spending in 2013.

But the significance lies in federal regulations that forbid congressional candidates from making federal campaign expenditures from any sources other than their federally-registered PACs - in this case, Citizens for Boyle, created just before Boyle announced his congressional candidacy last April 8.

Ken Snyder, who is handling communications for Boyle's congressional campaign, noted that Boyle had donated money to the Abington and county Democratic organizations in prior years.

"He's a member of the Montgomery County legislative delegation," Snyder said. "This has nothing to do with Congress."

Meanwhile, Boyle's lawmaker brother, State Rep. Kevin Boyle of Northeast Philadelphia, filed a campaign finance report last week that listed 19 contributions from Brendan Boyle, totaling $16,300, all raised in 2013.

Snyder said Kevin Boyle's report was in error. Brendan Boyle gave his brother's PAC just $1,500 - but a computer glitch mistakenly attributed other donors' contributions to Brendan.

Kevin Boyle was embarrassed that he had signed the report without reading it and intends to refile, Snyder said.

warnerb@phillynews.com

215-854-5885

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