Funding controversy looms as Wagner, others file for Pittsburgh mayor
Share with others:
The Pittsburgh mayor's race, effectively underway for months, reached its legal starting line Tuesday with a dispute on campaign funding.
Former state Auditor General Jack Wagner filed his nominating petitions and said he plans to use the roughly $300,000 in his state campaign committee for the mayor's race. One of his rivals, Councilman Bill Peduto, said that would violate the city campaign finance ordinance that he helped enact.
In an impromptu news conference after filing his nominating petitions, Mr. Wagner said that his lawyers had looked at the issue and given him the green light to use the funds as a down payment on a race that he estimated would cost "north of $850,000 or $1 million."
Mr. Peduto already has challenged the finances of another candidate, city Controller Michael Lamb, on a similar issue. He disputed Mr. Wagner's interpretation of the law and said he would mount a legal challenge to it if Mr. Wagner tried to spend funds raised while he was seeking state office.
The challenge to Mr. Lamb is now before the county Board of Elections. Depending on the outcome of its review, Mr. Peduto said, his campaign could end up pursuing the complaint in Common Pleas Court.
The mayoral candidates offered their competing interpretations of the law in news conferences outside the county elections office after each had filed nominating papers on the filing deadline for that and the other offices at stake on the May 21 primary.
Seven Democrats and one Republican submitted mayoral petitions along with hundreds of candidates for county and municipal councils, school boards and other local offices.
Also registering their mayoral candidacies were Mr. Lamb, city Council President Darlene Harris, state Sen. Jim Ferlo, D-Highland Park, state Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-HIll District, and A.J. Richardson, who listed his occupation as school bus monitor.
The sole Republican to file for Pittsburgh mayor was Josh Wander, of Squirrel HIll.
County Councilman Bill Robinson also had said that he was considering a bid for mayor, but decided not to enter the race.
First Published March 12, 2013 4:57 pm