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State Rep. Mehaffie took money from Exelon PAC

By Dan Miller

danmiller@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 9/25/19

Exelon Generation, First Energy and other entities associated with the nuclear industry have spent a combined $6.5 million in lobbying expenses in Pennsylvania since the third quarter of 2018, …

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State Rep. Mehaffie took money from Exelon PAC

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Exelon Generation, First Energy and other entities associated with the nuclear industry have spent a combined $6.5 million in lobbying expenses in Pennsylvania since the third quarter of 2018, according to Citizens Against Nuclear Bailouts.

CANB provided the numbers to the Press & Journal in response to comments made by state Rep. Tom Mehaffie, R-Lower Swatara Township, during a press conference held Friday marking the shut down of Three Mile Island.

“Special interests … have been against us through this whole fight and have put millions and millions of dollars into a PR campaign that says ‘no nuke bailout,’ that have done things to benefit themselves and not think about the people of Pennsylvania,” said Mehaffie, who in March introduced legislation in the state House aimed at creating a subsidy credit to preserve TMI and other nuclear power plants in the state.

CANB opposes the legislation as an unwarranted “bailout” of the nuclear industry in Pennsylvania, citing an “independent report” from a former PJM Interconnection chief economist who says that four of the state’s five nuclear power plants — all but TMI — are expected to remain profitable through at least 2028.

CANB said its figures for lobbying expenses by Exelon and the others comes from the lobbying directory database of the Pennsylvania Department of State website.

According to the figures provided by CANB, Exelon spent $587,337 in lobbying expenses in Pennsylvania in the third quarter of 2018, $435,292 in the fourth quarter, $988,059 in the first quarter of 2019 and $1,463,640 in the second quarter of 2019.

Exelon’s lobbying expenses exceeded that of the other industry players referred to by CANB, including First Energy Solutions Corp., Talen Energy, Nuclear Powers Pennsylvania, Nuclear Matters, Nuclear Energy Institute and the Pennsylvania Rural Electric Association.

Exelon and these other entities combined reported $684,787 in lobbying expenses for the third quarter of 2018, $573,878 for the fourth quarter, $2,372,110 for the first quarter of 2019 and $2,883,376 for the second quarter of 2019, according to CANB.

Mehaffie’s campaign committee Friends of Tom Mehaffie reported receiving $2,000 in campaign contributions from an Exelon political action committee in 2018, according to campaign expense reports publicly available on the Pennsylvania Department of State website. These numbers were not provided by CANB but were researched by the Press & Journal.

Mehaffie’s committee also reported receiving two separate contributions of $500 each from the Exelon PAC in 2017.

Mehaffie’s committee also reported receiving two contributions of $500 each from the First Energy PAC in 2018. In 2017, Mehaffie’s committee reported receiving $1,250 from the First Energy PAC, including one $1,000 contribution and another for $250.

“It is against the law to use campaign contributions to buy votes,” Mehaffie told the Press & Journal.

“That’s not why I did this,” he said, referring to the legislation he introduced. “I did this for the workers, my constituents, my families and friends and the community and how this will affect them. I didn’t do it for the companies or for Exelon. I did it because it was the right thing to do for the people of Pennsylvania.”

Mehaffie during the press conference also said how his own father had helped build Three Mile Island back in the 1970s.

“It put food on our table, it helped me go to college, helped my sister and my brother. I was able to do the things that our family wanted to do” because of TMI, Mehaffie said.

Citizens Against Nuclear Bailouts is a coalition with the following members, according to CANB: AARP Pennsylvania, American Chemistry Council, Americans for Prosperity Pennsylvania, Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania, Caithness Energy, Calpine, Citizen Power, Industrial Energy Consumers of Pennsylvania, Invenergy, Linde Energy Services, Marcellus Shale Coalition, Moxie Energy LLC, NFIB-Pennsylvania, NRG, Panda Power Funds, Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council, Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association, Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Tenaska, UGI Energy Services, and Vistra Energy.