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.

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Marie and Joseph Field, Bala Cynwyd, PA

Retired teacher | Entercomm Communications Corp.

Joseph M. Field and his wife Marie H. Field, of Bala Cynwyd, Pa., are a power couple in Pennsylvania’s political campaign contributions -- entirely in Democratic circles.

Joseph Field is the founder and chairman of Entercom Communications Corp., one of the largest radio broadcasting groups in the country, with more than 100 stations in 23 markets, including San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, Denver, Portland, Sacramento and Kansas City.

In 2002, their son David, took over as the company’s president and chief executive officer and Joseph Field, who is now in his 80s, became chairman after leading it since its founding in 1968.

Before entering the broadcasting business, Joseph Field, a native of Philadelphia and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Yale Law School, practiced law for 14 years and served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in New York.

He has served on numerous boards of directors, including the National Association of Broadcasters, the Philadelphia Orchestra Association, and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. He has a doctorate in music from the Curtis Institute of Music and has been a violin soloist with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia.

Marie H. Field, a retired teacher, grew up in New York and studied piano at the Manhattan School of Music, according to a press release from The Philadelphia Orchestra. She is a graduate of Barnard College and has served on a number of boards, including the National Liberty Museum and the Foundation Board of Directors of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

A phone message to Joseph Field’s office was not returned.

The couple gave a combined $306,300 to various political candidates and causes throughout 2011 and 2012. They were two of more than a dozen people who pledged to raise or donate $40,000 to the Obama campaign and were allowed to sit at a table and talk privately with the president in June for about 45 minutes, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Ultimately, the Obama Victory Fund benefitted from $59,200 in donations from the couple.

The couple supports progressive or liberal PACs and candidates, but seem to have their own separate identities as donors. Joseph Field, for example, gave $18,000 to various Pennsylvania candidates in 2011-’12, while Marie Field gave a little less than $9,000 to candidates in the state.

While Marie Field gave $47,500 to Planned Parenthood PACs, Joseph Field did not contribute to the non-profit organization that provides reproductive health advice and services for women and children.

Notable donations in 2011 and 2012:

By Joseph Field:

  • $10,000 to Murphy for PA. Patrick Murphy, a Democratic member of the U.S. House, was a candidate for state attorney general, but was beaten by Kathleen Kane for the Democratic nomination.
  • $45,000 to the Obama Victory Fund.
  • $26,000 to DGA Action, a Super Pac devoted to electing Democratic governors who will veto attempts to limit voter rights.
  • $30,800 to the Democratic National Committee super PAC.

By Marie Field:

  • $61,600 to the Democratic National Committee Super PAC.
  • $47,500 to Planned Parenthood Super PACs.
  • $14,200 to the Obama Victory Fund PAC.

Contact Sharon Walsh at 412-681-5685 or at swalsh@publicsource.org.

Total contributions: $308,050

63 donations: 29 to candidates and 34 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.