FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 5, 2023
CONTACT: Arielle Klagsbrun, firstname.lastname@example.org
Organizations react to Yass’s attempt to buy Philly Mayor’s race
Billionaire Jeff Yass dumps $750,000 into Coalition for Safety and Equitable Growth
PHILLY – Today, as a new round of campaign finance reports were released, it was announced that the newly formed Coalition for Safety and Equitable Growth PAC that is running ads against Helen Gym for Mayor is funded in vast majority by Main Line billionaire Jeff Yass, who has put in $750,000 – over 75% of the PAC’s money. Other funders to the PAC include various corporate real estate developers, Josh Kopelman (Board chairman of the Philadelphia Media Network which owns the Inquirer) and Michael Nutter Advisors (who has backed Rebecca Rhynhart for Mayor). In reaction to this news, members of grassroots voter groups in Philadelphia responded:
“It should be consensus that Jeff Yass – someone who seeks to privatize our schools and funds elected officials who supported the January 6th insurrection – should not be allowed to buy our elections,” said Diana Robinson, political director of Make the Road Action PA. “We won’t let billionaires stop our vision for Philadelphia – one where everyone has the right to affordable housing and fully funded public schools.”
“Reasonable people can sometimes disagree about which candidates are best – but we should all agree that Main Line billionaire and tax evader Jeff Yass shouldn’t get to put his thumb on the scale Mayoral election by buying himself his preferred candidates through a Super PAC expenditure,” said Steve Paul, co-executive director of One Pennsylvania. “Anyone who is working with Jeff Yass to fuel their own political agendas should say clearly if they support his positions on privatizing our public schools, busting unions and cutting our social safety nets.”
“It’s no surprise that someone who wants to sell off our schools wants to stop a candidate who has fought for fully funded public education. We’ll never let billionaires buy our elections or our city. Jeff Yass has tried to buy our elections over and over to push his rightwing privatizing agenda. What we’ve seen is that when we come together to fight back, whoever Yass touches loses,” said Tonya Bah, executive director of Free the Ballot.
In April, news broke that one of GOP megadonor and PA’s richest man Jeffrey Yass’s PACs, Commonwealth Children’s Choice Fund moved $400,000 into the corporate real estate Philly for Growth PAC that backed a set of Council candidates including Eryn Santamoor, Job Itzkowitz, Isaiah Thomas, Kathy Gilmore RIchard, Quetcy Lozada, Donavan West and Cindy Bass. With pressure from a coalition of grassroots voter contact groups, Itzkowitz, Thomas, Gilmore Richardson and Lozada all tweeted responses. West and Santamoor have remained silent.
Reclaim Philadelphia, Free the Ballot, Philly Neighborhood Networks, One Pennsylvania, PA Stands Up, PA Working Families Party, POWER, Make the Road PA, PA Spotlight, Little Sis and ACRE have all called attention to the role of Jeff Yass’s money in undermining democracy in Pennsylvania. Last fall in the lead up to the 2022 midterm elections, organizations rallied outside Yass’s house, office and Harrisburg lobbying firm to demand that he stop eroding our democracy.