Power Players: Pennsylvania's top political donors, 2011-2012

Ten wealthy Pennsylvanians, including a husband supporting his wife for political office and a gay man seeking equality, contributed nearly $9 million to their favorite candidates. PublicSource, working with the Investigative News Network, identified the 10 biggest campaign contributors in the state using state and federal campaign data.

1

Christopher Kane, Clarks Summit, PA

Chief Customer Strategy Officer/board member at Kane is Able, Inc.

Christopher Kane has turned the saying, “Behind every great man is a great woman,” on its head. The veteran executive of the family-owned Kane is Able firm has funneled millions of dollars to support his wife’s bid for state attorney general.

Kathleen Kane, a 46-year-old Democratic prosecutor, is seeking to succeed Republican Linda L. Kelly as Pennsylvania Attorney General.

Christopher Kane, 49, has spent more than 30 years at the Scranton-based Kane is Able, a trucking, warehouse and freight company that specializes in consumer packaged goods. Kane is a board member and the chief customer strategy officer.

Kane’s grandfather started the business in 1930 and his late father, Eugene “Gene” Kane, Sr., took it over in 1955, according to Kane Sr.’s obituary.

The company is also identified as Kane Freight Lines, Kane Warehousing and Kane Trucking in court records and Federal Election Commission documents.

Christopher Kane did not respond to messages left at his office, and Kathleen Kane’s campaign did not answer an email message.

A spokesman for Kane is Able said the company has not supported either candidate for attorney general. “We don’t have any stake in the election,” he said.

Kane married Kathleen Granahan in May 2000, according to an online marriage license. The Kanes reside in Clarks Summit, Pa., with two sons.

Kathleen Kane beat former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Murphy in the Democratic primary election. In the general election, she is facing Republican David Freed, the Cumberland County district attorney.

Kane served as an assistant district attorney in Lackawanna County, where her campaign biography states she focused on cases of sexual abuse, corruption and fraud.

On the campaign trail, she has said she would look closely at the dangers of hydraulic fracturing -- or fracking -- by the natural gas industry. Some have accused her of being “hostile” toward the industry for that reason.

Kathleen Kane -- running on the slogan, “A prosecutor, not a politician” -- has been endorsed by former President Bill Clinton. She managed the 2007 presidential primary campaign for Hillary Rodham Clinton in Northeast Pennsylvania, according to her campaign website.

FEC documents show that Christopher Kane has been donating to political campaigns for more than a decade. Many of his benefactors were Democratic candidates running to represent districts that include Scranton and Lackawanna County.

He supported two presidential hopefuls who did not secure the Democratic Party’s nominations. Kane gave $500 to Richard A. Gephardt’s campaign in 2003, and $2,300 to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign in 2008.

Kathleen Kane has also been a dedicated giver to political campaigns. The FEC reports she has contributed nearly $17,000 since 2000. She has also admitted, after pressure from opponents, that she gave to now-Gov. Tom Corbett for his 2008 re-election campaign to the attorney general post.

Notable contributions from 2011 to 2012:

  • $2.25 million to his wife’s campaign for the state attorney general seat.
  • $2,900 to the re-election campaign of Pennsylvania Democratic incumbent Sen. Bob Casey.
  • $225 to the Democratic Party of Pennsylvania.

Contact Halle Stockton at 412-315-0263 or at hstockton@publicsource.org.

Total contributions: $2,253,125

5 donations: 4 to candidates and 1 to committees

List of contributions

Sources: Center for Responsive Politics, National Institute on Money in State Politics, Federal Elections Commission and Pennsylvania Department of State.

Credits:PublicSource would like to thank The Center for Investigative Reporting for the use of their political contributions app, Rainmaker. The Investigative News Network coordinated the work between the many organizations sharing information for this project. Reporters Halle Stockton, Emily DeMarco and Reid Fraizer also contributed to this project.