HARRISBURG — Wawa’s political action committee says it isn’t playing favorites in Pennsylvania’s race for governor.
You wouldn’t know that if you looked only at state campaign finance reports.
The beloved convenience store’s PAC — yes, that’s a thing — has donated $12,500 to fundraisers for Republican Scott Wagner in 2018. No such donations to Gov. Tom Wolf’s campaign show up on the mandatory reports filed with the Pa. Department of State.
However, according to a Wawa spokesperson, that doesn’t prove the Media-based company has a lopsided preference. The PAC, she said, has made contributions to the Democratic Governors Association “as part of their recent events in support of Gov. Wolf’s campaign.”
Paperwork filed with the IRS does show a $10,000 contribution from Wawa to the DGA back in November 2017. A DGA spokesperson said it was for an event held with Wolf in Philadelphia. Information about contributions made after June of this year are not currently available.
“As a business with headquarters in PA, we have made modest contributions to both parties, at their requests, for the PA Gov. Race,” said Wawa spokesperson Lori Bruce.
The Wawa Inc. PAC has also donated to fundraisers for other Republicans, including Sen. Pat Toomey ($3,000), Western Pa. congressmen Keith Rothfus ($1,000) and Mike Kelly ($2,000), and state House Speaker Mike Turzai ($1,000), according to online DOS records. A handful of other General Assembly GOP — all from the greater Philadelphia suburbs — received donations of either $250 or $500.
On the Democrat side, the PAC gave $2,000 to a fundraiser for candidate Mary Gay Scanlon in the 5th District, which primarily consists of Delaware County. Sen. Bob Casey, also a Democrat, received $3,000, while his Republican opponent, Lou Barletta, got $2,000.
That Wawa has a PAC may be a surprise to you, but the committee registered with the state in 1982, about two decades after the first store opened in Delaware County. The PAC is active in both state and federal elections, including in New Jersey, and is funded through voluntary contributions from Wawa employees.
In case you’re wondering: Yes, Sheetz also has a PAC. It donated $10,000 to Wolf in September.