Reclaim Philadelphia – A Progressive Turnout PAC

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BY DAVID LYNN
Much has been written about Reclaim Philadelphia, a progressive group of young Philadelphians. Organized from the remains of Bernie Sanders 2016 campaign, it has taken over at least one Democratic ward, and are now putting forward one of its own to challenge State Sen. Larry Farnese (D-S. Phila.).

Reclaim Philadelphia has a close relationship with Keystone Progress. Keystone Progress is an IRS 501(c)(4) social welfare organization operating in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It has chapters in Philadelphia, Erie, Lancaster and Coatesville. According to a Reclaim Philadelphia spokesperson, Keystone Progress is the fiscal sponsor of Reclaim Philadelphia.

Members of Reclaim Philadelphia pay dues directly to Keystone Progress, and Reclaim Philadelphia claims 400 members on the books at the moment.

Keystone Progress is not required to disclose the names of its funders, and the last IRS Form 990 available for the organization was filed for tax year 2016. According to the Reclaim Philadelphia spokesperson, Reclaim Philadelphia PAC sometimes pays Keystone Progress to reimburse for staff time and other expenses.

The organization’s associated campaign finance committee, Reclaim Philadelphia PAC, is required to disclose its financials, and we will examine them today. A summary of Reclaim Philadelphia PAC’s finances follows.

Reclaim Philadelphia PAC raised $100,044.02 during 2019. $87,630.52 came from PACs or candidate committees, and all of it in contributions of more than $250.00. Five of the candidates – Isaiah Thomas, Ethelind Baylor, Erika Almirón, Helen Gym and Justin DiBerardinis – were Democrats running for City Council at large. Two others, Kendra Brooks and Nicholas O’Rourke, were Working Families Party candidates for City Council at large. A number of judicial candidates also contributed to Reclaim Philadelphia PAC.

Of the seven candidates for at-large seats that gave money to Reclaim Philadelphia PAC, two were elected on Nov. 5, 2019: Kendra Brooks and Helen Gym. Judicial candidates who gave to Reclaim Philadelphia PAC that were successful were Tiffany Palmer and Jennifer Schultz.

Along with contributions from PAC candidates, $11,962.50 came from five individuals who did not have addresses in Pennsylvania listed. $451.00 came from 23 contributions in 2019 Cycle 5 from individuals, most of whom had Philadelphia addresses.

Much of the expenses for Reclaim Philadelphia PAC were related to canvassing done by individuals for candidates listed as giving contributions. A number of the individuals who gave small contributions that were part of the $451.00 were listed as receiving payments for canvassing and consulting. There were also a number of reimbursements for staff time to Keystone Progress. On some reports, Reclaim Philadelphia PAC meticulously broke down its spending on the various candidates that supported it.

There are some interesting transactions between Reclaim Philadelphia PAC and Working Families Party candidates Brooks and O’Rourke. Reclaim Philadelphia PAC made very few contributions to candidates, but did make contributions of $5,000.00 to Friends of Kendra Brooks and Friends of O’Rourke in on Sept. 14. On Sept. 23, Reclaim Philadelphia PAC received $20,000.00 from Working Families Party National PAC.

In the weeks after receiving the $20,000 from Working Families Party National PAC, Reclaim Philadelphia PAC was credited with giving $12,261.08 to both the Brooks campaign and the O’Rourke campaign in in-kind contributions. According to the spokesperson for Reclaim Philadelphia PAC, the organization coordinated closely with Friends of Kendra Brooks and Friends of O’Rourke in knocking on doors, hosting house parties, and making phone calls for both candidates.

Reclaim Philly 2019

Year 2019 Totals
Beginning (Opening) Balance $4,786.21

Unitemized Contributions ($50.00 or Less) = $451.00
Contributions from PACs ($50.01 to $250.00) = $0.00
Individual Contributions ($50.01 to $250.00) = $0.00

Contributions from PACs (More than $250.00) = $87,630.52
Individual Contributions (More than $250.00) = $11,962.50
Other Receipts = $0.00
Total Receipts = $100,044.02
Total Cash Available = $104,830.23
Expenses = $101,933.31
Ending Balance = $2,896.92

Major Contributors

Committee + Total Contributed
Citizens for Isaiah Thomas = $7,500.00
Comm. to Elect Ethelind Baylor for City Council = $7,500.00
Friends of Erika Almirón = $9,500.00
Friends of Helen Gym = $12,000.00
Friends of Janine D. Momasso = $2,500.00
Friends of Jenn for Judge = $2,500.00
Friends of Justin DiBerardinis = $10,000.00
Friends of Kendra Brooks = $3,065.26

David Lynn is an independent political phrenologist living in Philadelphia. His writing can be found at http://WinningCampaigns.vote. He also provides free software that runs political campaigns in Pennsylvania, which may be found at http://PAPolCM.com.

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