From fried chicken to fine dining, here are some fun takeaways from area federal lawmakers' end-of-the-year campaign finance reports.
While there's no confirmation that campaign operatives dig into buckets of KFC while pouring over opposition research at Toomey headquarters, it is clear that the Pennsylvania U.S. senator has a friend in fried chicken.
The Association of Kentucky Fried Chicken Franchisees, Inc. Political Action Committee - yes, there's a PAC for that - gave Republican Sen. Pat Toomey $5,000 last year for his re-election. The fast food chain also contributed to Toomey's campaign in 2010.
Fast food restaurants have become a focal point in the national debate over raising the minimum wage, which Toomey opposes.
The KFC group paid $120,000 last year to lobby Congress on unspecified tax and labor issues, as well as menu labeling requirements, according to lobbying disclosure documents. It also lobbied on the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act, a provision Toomey is wildly against.
Toomey is not up for re-election for another two years, but he still raised more than $6 million in 2013 and has $4 million waiting in his campaign war chest.
So it looks like well ahead of his fight for re-election Toomey has some "finger lickin' good" support (so sorry, couldn't resist).
The annual end-of-the-year New York City gathering of Pennsylvania's political elite - and people who enjoy proximity to power - doesn't come free.
And to take part in Pennsylvania Society's back slapping and elbow rubbing, lawmakers dip into their campaign accounts.
Lehigh Valley Republican Rep. Charlie Dent was the only local lawmaker to itemize PA Society on his campaign finance report. He spent $800 for the weekend and another $6,424 to throw his annual reception at Mint restaurant.
Other local lawmakers list Manhattan hotel stays in December on their reports. Republican Sen. Pat Toomey charged $192.66 for a Doubletree Hotel stay and Democrat Rep. Matt Cartwright spent $221.23 at the Wyndham Midtown.
Outgoing Republican Rep. Jim Gerlach spent $1,218.64 at the Waldorf Astoria - where PA Society is officially held - and another $100 for parking there. And GOP Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick paid $1,672 at The New York Palace, a luxury hotel on Madison Ave., and another $170 for "catering" there.
At least it's not taxpayer money?Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun