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.


Rocco Ortenzio, Lemoyne, PA

Executive chairman of Select Medical Corp.

Rocco Ortenzio, 79, began his career as a physical therapist in 1956. Thirteen years later, he began starting specialty health care companies. He has taken all four companies public, and made a fortune in the process.

He is executive chairman of Select Medical Corp., a $1.6-billion health care company that he and his son, Robert, founded in 1996. Select Medical operates long-term acute care hospitals and rehabilitation hospitals. It employs 27,300 people in the United States and is based in Mechanicsburg, Pa. He lives in Lemoyne, a borough outside of Harrisburg.

Ortenzio also is chairman of Select Asset Management & Trust Co., a financial management service for wealthy individuals and institutions.

Forbes magazine calculated his 2011 annual compensation at $3.1 million.

“A community can only be as great as its individual and corporate residents make it,” he writes on his website. He has contributed millions of dollars to education, health care and entrepreneurship.

Much of the money has gone to local institutions: Bishop McDevitt High School, Harrisburg Area Community College, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, Holy Spirit Hospital, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Susquehanna University and Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts.

His campaign contributions have gone primarily to Mitt Romney. He also has supported candidates for the U.S. Senate in seven states. Unlike most of the top 10, he is bipartisan, contributing to Democratic senatorial candidates Bill Nelson in Florida, Max Baucus in Montana, Robert Menendez in New Jersey, and Bob Casey Jr. in Pennsylvania.

Ortenzio did not respond to a telephone call requesting an interview.

Notable contributions in 2011 and 2012:

  • Three payments totaling $1 million to Restore Our Future, the pro-Romney Super PAC.

Contact Bill Heltzel at 412-315-0265 or at bheltzel@publicsource.org

Total contributions: $1,027,950

19 donations: 15 to candidates and 4 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.