TribLive: Campaign finance PAC targets Rothfus, supports Lamb

By Wes Venteicher

A political action committee dedicated to campaign finance reform is targeting U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Sewickley, in a $35 million campaign to dislodge 20 members of Congress that the group said are most influenced by special interests.

Washington, D.C.-based End Citizens United cited Wall Street donations and Rothfus’s voting record in a statement accompanying its “Big Money 20” list. The list includes incumbents — all Republicans — who the group said “represent the worst of Washington’s rigged system, where politicians write the rules to benefit their biggest donors at the expense of the American people.”

The group is supporting U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, D-Mt. Lebanon, who faces Rothfus in the newly drawn 17th Congressional District that includes Beaver County and parts of Allegheny and Butler counties.

“This is a desperate attempt by the extreme left and their outside forces to falsely attack (Rothfus’s) record in order to support Conor Lamb,” Rothfus spokesman Mike Barley said in a statement.

Barley criticized Lamb for receiving campaign donations from individual liberal donors from outside the state.

End Citizens United targeted Rothfus for his bill to get rid of a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rule that would have let consumers file class-action lawsuits against banks and financial companies.

After its passage last fall, Rothfus said the bill would protect community banks and credit unions and save money for consumers, who he said would end up paying for banks’ legal bills if they were to defend themselves from the lawsuits.

The group also said Rothfus voted to allow internet providers to share customer data without their permission after accepting money from telecom industries.

Barley said the donations haven’t influenced Rothfus’s votes, citing as examples his votes against a broad $1.3 trillion federal spending package and against the farm bill.

End Citizens United was formed in 2015 to combat the effects of the 2010 Supreme Court decision that loosened campaign finance rules. The group raised $300,000 for Lamb in his successful special election campaign in March against Republican Rick Saccone. Its statement says it has 4,100 members in the 17th District.