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December 7, 2012 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

WATCHBLOG: Pulling back the curtain on PA Society events and sponsors

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

HARRISBURG – Beginning Thursday night and continuing until brunchtime on Sunday, the top political movers and shakers in the Keystone State will be living it up in the Big Apple for the annual Pennsylvania Society gathering.

The Walrdof Astoria in Manhattan is the location of many of this week’s activities.

The entire event is built around Saturday night’s Pennsylvania Society Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel near Central Park (tickets run $350 and up) but there are more than 50 satellite events on this year’s schedule.  They include social events hosted by top law firms, lobbying groups and corporations, along with fundraisers for the top elected officials in the state.

Attendees pay for the trip with personal funds, campaign dollars and corporate accounts.

Below, PA Independent pulls back the curtain on the people and groups hosting some of the top events at this year’s Pennsylvania Society weekend.

Hat-tip to Keegan Gibson of Politics PA for compiling a list of events.

AICUP: The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania lobbies on behalf of the non-state-supported colleges in the state.

Amy Gutmann: Current president of the University of Pennsylvania.

Anheuser-Busch: American brewing company and wholly owned subsidiary of Belgian brewing company ImBev.  Maker of Budweiser and other products, including Rolling Rock, which was formerly an independent Pennsylvania-based brew.

Ballard Spahr LLP: Philadelphia-based law firm with 13 offices across the nation.  Prior to running for governor in 2002, Ed Rendell was employed by Ballard Spahr for about two years, which he later described as being paid to do nothing.  The law firm received more than $21 million in contracts from the state during Rendell’s tenure and he returned to the law firm after leaving office in 2011.  Former Rendell chief of staff John Estey is a partner at the firm.

BlankRome LLP:  Philadelphia-based law firm.  Michael Krancer, the state Secretary of Environmental Protection, was a partner from 1992 to 1999. Also has ties to former congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro and several Pennsylvania judges.

Bob and Terese Casey: U.S. Senator, re-elected to a second term in November.  Terese is his wife

Bravo Group: Public relations firm with offices in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, with a wide range of clients including Comcast, Cisco Systems, several natural gas companies and multiple health insurance firms.

Broadband Cable Association of PA: Trade association that lobbies on behalf of the cable industry in Pennsylvania, including cable operators, equipment suppliers, programmers

Buchanan Ingersoll and Rooney: Pittsburgh-based law and lobbying firm. Former employees include former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ralph Cappy.  CEO Jack Barbour was a member of Corbett’s transition team.

Carey Group: Democratic mayors John Callahan of Bethlehem and Luke Ravelstahl of Pittsburgh will be joined by Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro and newly-elected state Sen. Matt Smith, D-Allegheny, at this event sponsored by a Pittsburgh-based public relations firm.

Charlie Dent: U.S. Representative, elected to a 5th term in November.  He represents the 15th district, including most of the Lehigh Valley and parts of Berks, Lebanon and Dauphin counties

Christine Toretti: Former Republican Party of Pennsylvania chairwoman, Chairman and CEO of S.W. Jack Drilling Co., the largest privately held land-based drilling company in the United States.  Member of Gov. Tom Corbett’s transition team

Consol Energy: One of several major energy companies drilling for natural gas in Pennsylvania’s fertile Marcellus shale region.  Based in Pittsburgh.

Cozen O’Connor: Philadelphia-based law firm. Charles Kopp, an attorney at the law firm, was appointed by Corbett to head the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority in 2011.  Previously, Kopp served on Corbett’s transition team.

Darrell Clarke, John Dougherty, Bobby Henon (joint event): Clarke and Henon are members of the Philadelphia City Council. Dougherty is head of the Philadelphia local bargaining unit for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Dilworth Paxson: Philadelphia-based law firm.  Former state Sen. Vince Fumo, who is now serving time in a federal prison, on corruption charges which included taking $1 million from the firm in exchange for steering business to it.  Michael Krancer, state Secretary of Environmental Protection, was a partner prior to leaving for Blank Rome in 1992.

Dominic Pileggi: The Republican Senate Majority Leader and former mayor of the city of Chester.

Duane Morris LLP: Philadelphia-based law firm.  Pennsylvania General Counsel Barbara Adams (appointed by then-Gov. Ed Rendell in 2005) is an alumni of the firm, as are several federal judges in the Eastern district of Pennsylvania. Former Lt. Gov. Mark Singel also worked there.

Energy Association of PA: A trade association the lobbies on behalf of the energy companies in Pennsylvania.  Members include all natural gas and electric utilities operating in Pennsylvania.

Forum for a Better Pennsylvania: Coalition of political, civic, business and religious leaders working to increase the political activity of African Americans in Pennsylvania

IBEW Local Union 98: Philadelphia-based local union of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Jack Wagner: Auditor General, who is term-limited and will be leaving office in January, to be replaced by Eugene DePasquale.  Some consider him a potential challenger to Corbett in 2014.  He unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for governor in 2010.

John Hanger: The first, and so far only, announced Democratic candidate for governor in 2014.  Former Secretary of Environmental Protection under Gov. Ed Rendell.

Leech Tishman: Pittsburgh-based business law firm.

Lou Barletta: Republican congressman from the 11th district and former mayor of Hazleton.  Was re-elected to a second term in November.

Brett Mandel: Mandel recently announced a bid to be Philadelphia Controller.  The election is scheduled for 2013.

Michael Clark and Surmount LLC: Washington D.C.-based lobbying firm.

Mike Turzai: Republican House Majority Leader.

PA House GOP Leaders: The guys who run the show in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.  Surely they will be toasting their recent electoral success, where they maintained a wide majority in the chamber.

Pat Toomey: U.S. Senator, two years into his first term.

Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association: Harrisburg-based trade association for manufacturing firms in the state.

PNC: Pittsburgh-based bank.

Republican State Committee: Karl Rove is the special guest for this gathering of members of the Republican Party from Pennsylvania.

Rich Fitzgerald: Allegheny County Executive, the head of the county government

Rob McCord: State Treasurer.  McCord, a Democrat, was recently re-elected to a second term in office. Considered by some to be a potential challenger to Corbett in 2014.

S.R. Wojdak and Associates: Philadelphia-based law and lobbying firm. Managing vice president Steve Crawford was chief of staff for former Gov. Ed Rendell.  Executive vice president in charge of the firm’s lobbying branch is Holly Kinser, ex-wife of former Speaker of the House Bill DeWeese, who is now in prison.

Saul Ewing LLP: Philadelphia-based law firm with several ties to the administration of former governors Tom Ridge and Ed Rendell.  Law firm partner Tim Carson was appointed by Ridge as vice chairman of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.  Carson resigned in 2010 after two drunk driving incidents.  Carson also has close ties with Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille, and the law firm has paid for the judge to attend several PA Society events, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Stevens and Lee: Harrisburg-based law firm, hired as consultant to the state-appointed receiver for the financially-troubled capitol city.

Temple University: One of four “state-related” universities in Pennsylvania that receive state dollars but are not required to submit to the state’s right-to-know process.

The Genevieve Society: Statewide non-partisan organization dedicated to increasing the political and professional power of women in Pennsylvania.

The Metropolitan Caucus: Comprised of the Mayor of Philadelphia and the County Commissioners or County Council members of Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties.

Tom Corbett: Governor of Pennsylvania, halfway through his first term in office.

Lamb McErlane: West Chester-based law firm.

Waste Management: Texas-based, publicly traded garbage hauling service with more than 42,000 employees nationwide.

Wells Fargo: San Francisco-based bank with dozens of branches in Pennsylvania.

This post was updated on 12/10/12 to clarify information about the Energy Association of Pennsylvania.

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Eric Boehm is a reporter for PA Independent. He can be reached at Eric@PAIndependent.com or at (717) 350-0963.

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