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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Matt Shaner Really Serious About Campaign


Tuesday, Apr. 01, 2008

5TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

Shaner puts more cash into campaign

Spending $1.2 million of own funds means candidate leads nation

- mjoseph@centredaily.com

With three weeks to go in the 5th Congressional District primary contests, Patton Township Republican Matt Shaner has spent more than $1.2 million of his own money on the campaign.

That is more in personal funds than any other congressional candidate running in the 435 U.S. House districts has so far spent for the 2008 election, according to public disclosures by the Federal Election Commission.

Shaner, 28, president of Shaner Investments Ltd. of State College, reported Friday under provisions of the federal campaign law’s so-called Millionaires’ Amendment that he spent another $500,000 on his campaign, bringing his total to date to $1,220,200.

The next highest spender of personal funds among the nation’s congressional candidates for this election cycle is also from Pennsylvania.

Luzerne County business owner Daniel Meuser, who is one of two Republicans competing in the April 22 primary to challenge rookie Democratic Congressman Christopher Carney, has spent $849,600 of his own money as of March 24, the FEC records show.

Congressional candidates are required to notify their opponents and the FEC when their personal expenditures surpass $350,000 and whenever the candidate makes an additional expenditure of $10,000 or more.

When the $350,000 threshold is reached, the Millionaires’ Amendment helps level the playing field by allowing opposing candidates to accept contributions from individuals of as much as $6,900, three times more than the typical limit of $2,300.

In all, 14 candidates for the U.S. House from throughout the United States — including Shaner and Meuser — have filed under the Millionaires’ Amendment this year.

Two candidates, Democrat Bill Foster and Republican James Oberweis, reported spending more than a combined $4.3 million of their own money ahead of a special election in early March to fill the seat of retiring Rep. Dennis Hastert in Illinois’ 14th District. Hastert is the former House speaker.

But Shaner’s spending leads the remaining 12 candidates in the normal campaign cycle leading to the Nov. 4 general election.

U.S. House members will receive a $169,300 salary next year. Shaner, asked why he has already spent more than seven times the yearly salary on his campaign, said he is not running for Congress to earn a large salary.

“I am running for this office because my wife and I believe strongly in public service and the ideas that empower individuals, families and small businesses,” he said in an e-mail. “Since I am not relying on large contribution checks to finance my campaign, it allows me from day one, if elected, to focus on the big issues facing the district.”

He said those issues include blocking Interstate 80 tolling, supporting a constitutional amendment to balance the budget, seeking energy independence, making the tax cuts permanent, creating and retaining jobs and securing U.S. borders.

“I make no apologies for spending my own money to inform the 650,000 residents of the 5th District where I stand on important issues,” Shaner said.

A competitor, Clearfield County Republican Derek Walker, 32, did not rule out using the Millionaires’ Amendment at some point but said “we don’t need to spend that kind of money” that Shaner is spending.

College Township Republican Chris Exarchos, 63, said he expects to spend less than $50,000 on the campaign.

“Let’s hope for everybody’s sake that we elect the best candidate,” Exarchos said. “Not the one that spends the most money.”

The first public campaign finance reports for candidates who raise more than $5,000 are due next week.

Mike Joseph can be reached at 235-3910. Solomon's words thanks the Centre Daily Times for letting us republish their articles on the 5th District Congressional race.

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