HARRISBURG -- A former board member of the multibillion-dollar charity that controls The Hershey Co. has made a $100,000 campaign contribution to Kathleen Kane, the Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania attorney general, reports made public Monday show.
The hefty donation from Robert Reese to Ms. Kane comes amid a pending state investigation of the Hershey Trust, whose board was once chaired by the father-in-law of Ms. Kane's Republican opponent, David Freed.
Mr. Reese, a grandson of the man who created Reese's peanut-butter cups, is a former member of the boards of the Hershey Trust and the school for disadvantaged children that it benefits.
He sued the trust over alleged financial improprieties last year, a few months after the attorney general's office revealed it was conducting a civil investigation of transactions by the trust. The trust sought dismissal of the lawsuit, denying any wrongdoing. Mr. Reese later withdrew it.
Mr. Freed's father-in-law was the trust's board chairman during the period in question. Mr. Freed has said he would turn the probe over to a special prosecutor if he is elected and it is still active when the next attorney general is sworn in in January.
Attempts to reach Mr. Reese by telephone were unsuccessful Monday.
Ms. Kane, a former Lackawanna County prosecutor and political newcomer whose victorious campaign in the April primary was financed mainly by more than $2 million from her husband, has raised nearly $3 million since then without significant help from her family.
Mr. Freed, the Cumberland County district attorney, was not opposed in the GOP primary and has raised more than $2 million.
Both candidates released summaries of their contributions and expenditures Friday, the state's deadline for the last reports required before the Nov. 6 election. The complete reports were not available until the State Department released them Monday.
Other major Kane contributors during the five-week reporting period that ended Oct. 22 included the Committee for a Better Tomorrow, representing Philadelphia trial lawyers, which gave $400,000. That pushed its total support for her campaign to at least $500,000.
America Votes Pennsylvania, part of a national group that promotes progressive voting policies, contributed $200,000 to Ms. Kane.
Others who wrote large checks to Ms. Kane included two members of the Wilmington, Del.-based law firm Grant & Eisenhofer. Jay Eisenhofer contributed $50,000 and Richard Schiffrin gave $25,000. Robert Field, the president of The Manor Group, a Lancaster-based hotel and apartment management company, gave $25,000.
Mr. Freed's campaign received $50,000 from Kim Pegula, whose husband, Terry, owns the Buffalo Sabres hockey team and founded an energy company that was a major player in Pennsylvania's natural-gas industry before it was sold to Royal Dutch Shell PLC for $4.7 billion in 2010.
Mr. Freed also received the latest in a series of $25,000 contributions from the PA Future Fund, a political action committee headed by GOP national committeeman Robert Asher. It has contributed at least $125,000 to Mr. Freed's campaign overall.
Giving Mr. Freed $25,000 apiece were Edward Breen, chairman of Tyco International; New York supermarket billionaire John Catsimatidis; James Maguire, chairman of Philadelphia Insurance Companies; and Joseph Reschini of The Reschini Group insurance firm in Indiana, Pa.electionspa - state