Write a check for Luke or Bill? Here's how your donations are being spent

Published by Moriah Balingit on .

As we've reported on before, rules for what campaign money can be spent on are pretty loose. It can be spent on anything "for the purpose of influencing the outcome of an election," even after a politician has dropped out of the race. 

So here's what campaign finance reports filed two weeks ago revealed about Luke Ravenstahl and Bill Peduto's spending.

Mr. Ravenstahl, who dropped out of the race in March, still had a sizeable campaign war chest. A big chunk of that money -- including $110,000 in May -- went to Committee for a Better Pittsburgh, a group that financed a series of TV ad buys railing against then-candidate Mr. Peduto. The report, posted on the Allegheny County Elections page, shows he's spent $233,077.42 between May 7 and the end of the year, leaving him around $340,000 left to burn. Some other highlights:

-$2,000 to the Bob O'Connor Foundation, $1,000 to North Catholic HS football (where dad Bob Ravenstahl is the coach) and a handful of other charitable donations

-$20,000 to the law firm Brucker, Schneider and Porter for "legal fees." Chuck Porter, of the firm, has been representing the former mayor in the ongoing federal probe of city business. (It's not unprecedented for politicians to use campaign dollars to pay legal fees.)

-Dues to the River's Club and to Shannopin Country Club. 

-$2,000 to Luke Rattay for "consulting." Mr. Rattay lists himself as a personal political consultant here. He's also a caddy at Shannopin. Another $2,000 went to Mr. Rattay in the first reporting period of last year.

-$1,244 to Pa. Wine & Spirits and $146.47 to Wal-Mart, both for "event supplies" on New Year's Eve. 

The report Mr. Peduto, who handily won in the November general, only documents expenditures between the end of November and the end of December. (You can search for more reports here.) It reflects pretty ordinary campaign expenses -- including to workers who are now employed by the city. Some other big-ticket/interesting items:

-$10,000 to Friends of (state rep.) Ed Gainey, and $8,000 to Friends of (state rep.) Erin Molchanny

-meals at Cappy's Cafe, Brillo Box, Franktuary and Vallozi's

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