Environmental Groups: Big Gas Gave Tom Wolf $1.5 Million in Campaign Contributions

In a joint effort, Pennsylvania Food and Water Watch and Berks Gas Truth issued a report claiming that Governor Tom Wolf received $1.5 million in campaign contributions from organizations, individuals and political action committees that have ties with the oil and gas industry.  According to the report, “many of Wolf’s donors are associated with the Marcellus Shale Coalition, a trade association working to promote drilling and fracking from the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations,and whose Executive Board is run by industry employees from Range Resources, Williams, XTO Energy, CONSOL Energy, EOG Resources and numerous other companies profiting from fracking.”

The report reviewed campaign finance reports from the Pennsylvania Department of State and shows that between April 2 and November 24 Tom Wolf received $767,475 in individual contributions, $402,428 from organizations and $350,535 in PAC contributions.


  • The organization that donated the most money to Tom Wolf for Governor was Saul Ewing, LLP, a Marcellus Shale Coalition Associate Member
  • Stradley, Ronon, Stevens, and Young, LLP, a law firm with an energy/oil and gas practice,5 came in second giving $58,172.20.
  • Inteplast Group LTD, a plastics manufacturer in the petrochemical industry,6 gave the third largest sum of money: $50,000


  • A key individual donor, Richard Wade Vague, gave a total of $110,000 in 2014. This is the largest sum given by an individual to Wolf. Vague is one of two managing partners at Gabriel Investments, where his bio reads, “Previously, he [Vague] was co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Energy Plus, an electricity and natural gas supply company operating in states throughout the U.S. that was sold to NRG Energy in 2011.”
  • In 2014 Marsha Reines Perelman gave $52,510 to Wolf’s campaign. Perleman has significant ties to the industry, including her position as an Independent Director of Penn Virginia Corporation.8 According to Penn Virginia’s website, “Penn Virginia Corporation (NYSE: PVA) is an independent oil and gas company engaged in the exploration, development and production of oil, NGLs and natural gas in various
    domestic onshore regions of the United States, with a primary focus in Texas, and other properties in the Mid-Continent, Mississippi and the Marcellus Shale in Appalachia
  • Stephen Cozen, founder and chairman of the law firm Cozen O’Connor, gave $30,000. Cozen O’Conner is a Marcellus Shale Coalition Associate Member


  • The PAC for Allegheny County executive Rich Fitzgerald gave a whopping $111,000 to Tom Wolf for Governor. Fitzgerald is a staunch shale gas advocate who pushed for the lease of Deer Lakes Park and the Pittsburgh International Airport for drilling and fracking.
  • The McNees PAC for the firm McNees, Wallace & Nurick, a Marcellus Shale Coalition Associate Member,12 has donated and gave in-kind charitable contributions summing up to, $76,734.52
  •  The Duane Morris LLP Government Fund and the Duane Morris PAC gave a combined $32,050. Duane Morris is a law firm with an active oil and gas practice. Its website touts: “Duane Morris is uniquely positioned to provide strategic legal and business counsel to the entire spectrum of participants in the development of the Marcellus Shale, the second-largest-known gas field in the world.”



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Contributor and Assistant Editor for the Raging Chicken Press. Stationed in Harrisburg covering politics in the capitol. You can send tips to sean@rcpress.org or reach me on twitter at @RCPress_Sean!
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1 Comment on Environmental Groups: Big Gas Gave Tom Wolf $1.5 Million in Campaign Contributions

  1. I got my facts wrong from Food and Water Watch and Penn Live. Their earlier total was $273,000. But in any event, Governor Tom Wolf is owned just like Governor Corbett or Governor Corporate. And just like mike high school social studies teacher used to say, “money talks, B.S. walks and we are al running a close third.” With a deficit of 2.3 billion dollars and a anti-tax, anti-regulatory and anti-government Republican Tea Party dominated legislature, I doubt that he will get any percentage of an extraction tax, tougher environmental regulations and enforcement from the legislature. He says he will stop leases in the state parks, forest’s and game lands, but the DCNR’s budget is dependent on those leasing fees. The Legislature will not increase taxes, just cut them. The have all taken the anti-tax pledge of Grover Norquist and money from the gas industry as well. Do you honestly think that they will bite the hand that feeds them and that owns them? They are all violating their oath of office. Particularly Article 1 Section 27 which says:
    “The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.” If they don’t live up to this oath of office they should be either voted out of office or impeached and removed from office with all deliberate speed.

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