March 4, 2016

Katie McGinty Fundraises With Coal Lobbyist As Dems Fret About Her Campaign

Within hours, if not minutes, of The Philadelphia Inquirer publishing a long story chock full of blind quotes from prominent Democrats grousing about establishment candidate Katie McGinty’s surprisingly weak senate campaign, McGinty was engaging in exactly the type of behavior that’s causing her headaches with the Party grassroots: fundraising with a coal industry lobbyist. The Washington Free Beacon reports:

Democratic Senate hopeful and former lobbyist Katie McGinty spent Thursday night at a fundraiser hosted by a top Pennsylvania lobbyist who represents a coal company that was recently attacked by likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Holly Kinser runs her own lobbying firm, The Kinser Group, and writes on its website that she has “earned the reputation as one of the best lobbyists in Pennsylvania.” She hosted the fundraiser at her firm’s office, located inside Philadelphia’s iconic Bellevue hotel.

Among Kinser’s clients is the Patriot Coal Corporation, which went through its second bankruptcy in three years last October and was forced to restructure due to a distressed coal market. Its plan drew the attention of Clinton, who called it “outrageous” and said that it “must be stopped.”

The fundraiser highlights two of McGinty’s key weaknesses:

First, it comes after McGinty has faced weeks of attacks from her primary opponents and grassroots activists for her record as a fracking industry lobbyist, and for falsely claiming during a debate that she hadn’t accepted campaign cash from the oil and gas industry when, in fact, she’d accepted lots of it.

Second, McGinty has also come under fire for hypocrisy on her fundraising practices. She’s repeatedly decried 3rd party spending in debates, while accepting support from so-called “dark money” groups like the League of Conservation Voters and EMILY’s List, and her campaign chairman, former Governor Ed Rendell, told the Inquirer that McGinty flat-out “won’t win” without millions of outside special interest spending:

McGinty is working furiously to close that [fundraising] gap, but allies said it will depend on a burst of spending from outside political groups – though, by law, they cannot formally coordinate.

A spokeswoman for EMILY’s List, the Washington-based group that backs Democratic women and that is one of McGinty’s prime supporters, said she could not comment on potential ad buys, but called the Pennsylvania race “a top priority.”

Unless McGinty and the organizations supporting her can buy $3.5 million to $4 million of television time, “she won’t win,” said Rendell, her campaign chairman.

With McGinty slated to appear at a candidate forum in Hershey Friday afternoon, the list of topics she’ll be trying to avoid is growing by the minute.