Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Peduto Sues Two Rivals over Campaign Finances

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Peduto Sues Two Rivals over Campaign Finances

Article excerpt

Pittsburgh mayoral candidate Bill Peduto is taking two rivals to court, provoking an intriguing legal test of the city's campaign finance law and the first major confrontation among those fighting over the unsettled turf of the mayor's race.

Mr. Peduto claims fellow Democrats Michael Lamb and Jack Wagner are inappropriately using funds raised for previous campaigns in their mayoral bids this year, violating the city's 2009 campaign finance law. The court injunction the city councilman from Point Breeze is seeking would essentially strip his rivals of much of the money they have on hand to campaign for the May 21 Democratic nomination.

Both the Lamb and Wagner camps brushed off the complaint.

"Instead of focusing on the issues and challenges facing Pittsburgh, Mr. Peduto has shown a pattern of filing nuisance lawsuits to gain political advantage. That's the approach of a gadfly, not a leader -- and certainly not a mayor," stated Mr. Lamb, the city's controller.

"Jack Wagner's record speaks for itself," said J.J. Abbott, spokesman for the former state auditor general and onetime city councilman. "This stunt by Bill Peduto is a desperate attempt to distract from the real issues in this campaign, including education, jobs and public safety, which our campaign will continue to focus on."

The other Democratic candidates -- city council President Darlene Harris, state Rep. Jake Wheatley of the Hill District and bus monitor A.J. Richardson of Sheraden -- were not named in the legal complaint and did not have significant campaign accounts on file anyway. Incumbent mayor and money-leader Luke Ravenstahl announced March 1 he would not seek re-election.

The city's campaign finance law caps giving in mayoral primaries at $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for political action committees. Under the Peduto campaign's interpretation, the Lamb and Wagner campaigns could only sink $4,000 raised during previous races into this year's race. …

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