April 6, 2016

McGinty’s Fracking Fib Dominates Post-Debate Coverage

Katie McGinty’s misleading statements about her ties to the fracking industry dominated post-debate coverage for the second time in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary.

News accounts of the debate prominently featured McGinty’s difficulty spinning her past statements as her record came under fire from her two opponents. In an effort to deflect, McGinty fell back on her trusty tactic of touting establishment endorsements:

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:Ms. McGinty, former chief of staff to Gov. Tom Wolf, took the brunt of the hits, many of them aimed at her ties to the oil and gas industry. Mr. Sestak, a former congressman and former Navy admiral, jabbed her for taking a job as a lobbyist for an industry she once regulated as state secretary of environmental protection. Mr. Fetterman blasted her for lying during a previous candidates’ forum about whether she received campaign contributions from energy companies.”

Allentown Morning Call:The trio also traded sharp words over whether candidates have received contributions from the oil and gas industry, with McGinty cutting off Fetterman to rebut comments about her campaign donors as the moderator sought to move on to the next question.”

Pittsburgh City Paper:The subject of fracking, or natural-gas drilling, led to the most contentious moment of the debate. McGinty accused Sestak of flip flopping on his call for a moratorium on fracking (which he said was not true and a misleading statement), and Sestak responded by citing McGinty’s ethics committee investigation during her tenure as Pa. environmental secretary. Fetterman then insulted McGinty citing her role in supporting fracking while environmental secretary saying “there is no such thing as a green fracker.” McGinty responded by touting her endorsements from environmental groups and accused Fetterman of having a higher percentage of financial support from frackers and energy companies than her campaign. Fetterman denied this accusation.”

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: “They also differed on fracking. Sestak said he supports a moratorium, as he did when he ran for Senate in 2010, until stricter regulations can be developed. Fetterman called it “outrageous” that fracking companies don’t pay an excise tax and said that “McGinty really, along with Gov. Rendell, brought fracking to Pennsylvania” before proper regulations could be enacted.”

Philadelphia Inquirer:  The fight on fracking resurrected a clash from early in the race, when McGinty said she had received no campaign contributions from the oil or gas industries. She has taken some donations from executives either at oil and gas companies or in closely related businesses, such as pipelines – but she has said no money has come directly from oil or gas firms or their political arms.”

McGinty’s denial at a January 31st debate that she received campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry prompted an outcry from her opponents and the press that dominated the news for months. With less than three weeks to primary day, it appears McGinty’s record will continue to haunt her.