PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Jack Wagner and his team of lawyers were in court Wednesday afternoon.
At issue, Bill Peduto’s complaint that Wagner could not use $300,000 from his governor’s campaign for his mayor’s race. Why? Because the city limits contributions to $2,000 per person and $4,000 per political action committee.
“Councilman Peduto has been raising money under the limits and to have a candidate raise money outside the limits puts that candidate potentially at an advantage,” said Chuck Pascal, Peduto’s attorney.
But in a complicated ruling based on a provision of the city ordinance that suspends campaign limits when one candidate — in this case, Michael Lamb — gives more than $50,000 to his own campaign, Judge Joseph James lifted the city’s limit on donations for this mayor’s race.
The upshot of this court decision is that the office of mayor is now up for sale.
The city’s campaign finance limits are out the window, and contributions of unlimited amounts can be made to all the candidates.
The bottom line — the money will start flowing.
Wagner was quick to blame Peduto, who drafted the original city ordinance.
“It’s extremely poorly written — a statute of four pages. If you look at the city of Philadelphia, it’s a statute of 32-pages. That one held up in the courts — this one didn’t,” Wagner said after the hearing.
But Peduto said it was Mayor Luke Ravenstahl who had inserted the language that triggered the law’s suspension.
“If you remember, the bill we wrote was vetoed by Mayor Ravenstahl and a new bill with the ‘millionaires clause’ was presented by the mayor and his allies on council,” noted Peduto.
But wherever the blame, both candidates say they will raise whatever money they can.