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Organizations Denounce Billionaire Jeff Yass’s Attempt to Buy Allegheny County Executive Race

For the first time, PA’s largest rightwing donor spends big in Allegheny County Exec Race, attempting to expand political impact across state 

PITTSBURGH – Jeffrey Yass, a major rightwing donor and Pennsylvania’s wealthiest man, has begun interfering in the Allegheny County elections, where he does not live. This is the first time that Yass has engaged in Western PA municipal races.

According to the most recent release of campaign finance reports, the Commonwealth Leaders PAC, which receives nearly all of its funding from Yass’s PACs, gave $100,000 each to “Save Allegheny County” and “Middle Path Action Fund.” Both of the Yass-backed PACs are also associated with private equity manager, Jeff Kendall, who serves as a Trustee for Yass-associated organization, Commonwealth Partners. 

“Jeff Yass – someone who seeks to drain money from our public schools, evades paying his taxes, and funds elected officials who supported the January 6th insurrection – should not be allowed to buy our elections,” said Alex Wallach Hanson with Pennsylvania United. “Anyone who is taking money from Jeff Yass must clearly say if they support his positions on privatizing our public schools and busting unions.”

Yass is the founder of Susquehanna International Group, a Wall Street firm headquartered in suburban Philadelphia. He is worth nearly $30 billion, making him Pennslyniva’s richest man and the 50th richest person in the entire world. He is one of the top ten political donors in the country, giving mostly to Republicans and rightwing causes. In Pennsylvania, Yass gives through a network of self-funded political action committees (PACs). He is Pennsylvania’s top donor on the state level, and has given prolifically to elections outside of his suburban Philadelphia district, including in western PA state House and Senate members.

“Every day, we work hard to build a community where all of us in Allegheny County can thrive. Yet, people like Jeff Yass are spending millions of dollars statewide and now here in Allegheny County to attack our public schools and divide our communities with hate,” said Miracle Jones with 1Hood Power. “We won’t let billionaires stop our vision for change here in our neighborhoods – where everyone has the right to affordable housing and fully funded public schools.”

“Jeff Yass – a Wall Street billionaire invested in fracking companies like EQT – is trying to rig our democracy so that he can profit off of Allegheny County, where he doesn’t even live. He is working to undermine our elections with money that he should be paying in taxes to fully fund public schools,” said Moses Wamalwa with One Pennsylvania. “Ahead of the 2024’s Presidential elections, we’re demanding all eyes on Jeff Yass to ensure we uphold our democracy.”

Already this year, Yass’s PACs have put millions of dollars in direct and in-kind donations into the Republican candidate for State Supreme Court. In the Philadelphia municipal primary, Yass spent over $1 million in independent expenditures for both the mayoral and City Council races. In the Philadelphia mayoral race, he similarly set up a new super PAC entity with a local contact, indicating his new preferred mechanism for engaging in municipal races. He has also indicated he will spend against the Philadelphia Working Families Party City Council candidates this November. 

“From the Congress to the White House, from the PA legislature to the PA State Supreme Court, Jeff Yass is trying to buy our elections to push his rightwing privatizing agenda,” said Shoshanna Israel with the Pennsylvania Working Families Party. “However, voters across Allegheny County agree: we all deserve clean air, affordable housing and fully funded schools. On November 7, we’ll reject billionaires buying our elections and vote for working families.”

For the last few years, groups from all corners of the state – 1Hood Power, Alliance for Police Accountability, ACRE, Little Sis, One Pennsylvania, Free the Ballot, PA United, PA Stands Up, PA Working Families, POWER, Make the Road PA, PA Spotlight and more – have called attention to the role of Jeff Yass’s money in undermining democracy in Pennsylvania, demanding that no elected official take money from Yass. In 2022 and 2023, organizations successfully got Yass-backed candidates to denounce and return Yass donations.