Note: This story has been updated with additional information.
Three Lower Saucon Township Council candidates are the indirect beneficiaries of more than $20,000 in cash and in-kind contributions made by IESI Bethlehem Landfill to a recently-formed Political Action Committee (PAC) called Responsible Solutions for Pennsylvania, according to paperwork filed with the Northampton County Voter Registration Office and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The PAC–which states on its website that it is supporting Republican candidates Tom Maxfield (I), Sandra Yerger and Bill Ross for their “smart fiscal leadership”–received a $20,000 contribution from IESI Corporation and a $500 contribution from IESI NY Corporation in the form of in-kind services provided by Andrew Moss, an attorney who works in Business Development and Government Affairs for Progressive Waste Solutions, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Progressive Waste Solutions is the Canadian parent company of IESI, which owns IESI Bethlehem Landfill in Lower Saucon Township.
IESI has been actively developing expansion plans for its Lower Saucon facility for more than three years, in hopes of extending its lifespan as it nears its capacity.
A zoning change that would make the company’s larger western expansion plan possible must ultimately be approved by council, which has taken no action on the matter while councilman Glenn Kern remains absent due to long-term ill health.
According to the paperwork filed with the Northampton County Voter Registration Office, the chairman of Responsible Solutions for Pennsylvania is developer David Spirk, who helms the township’s Parks & Recreation Board.
The PAC’s treasurer is Craig Kologie, who sits on the Lower Saucon Township Planning Commission.
An April 29 Statement of Organization-Independent Expenditure Committee letter signed by Kologie states that:
“The committee intends to accept contributions from corporations, unincorporated associations, and/or labor unions. The committee will not use its funds to directly or indirectly make contributions to, or coordinate expenditures on behalf of, candidates and their authorized committees or political party committees.”
Spirk is identified as a $100 contributor to Responsible Solutions for Pennsylvania on a “Second Friday Pre-Primary Campaign Finance Report” from Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP, Attorneys at Law, of Philadelphia.
Along with Spirk, Thomas Butera, who is vice chairman of the Parks & Recreation Board, is listed as a $25 contributor to Responsible Solutions for Pennsylvania.
Some of the money donated to RSP has been or will be spent on robo-calls ($600) and mailers ($3,508), according to Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Independent Expenditure Report forms filed on May 7 and May 13.
The forms contain a section that requires information about “Name of Candidate or Question” supported or opposed to be entered.
On the forms submitted by Kologie as treasurer for Responsible Solutions for Pennsylvania, the names “Tom Maxfield,” “Sandra Yerger” and “Bill Ross” are listed, and the box “Supported” has an “X” in it.
Maxfield told the Morning Call that he was unaware of the PAC’s existence or its support for his re-election until recently.
“‘I would like the people of the township to know that they are being represented not only by me but by our staff and the majority of our council members in a totally above-board ethical way and that they should feel totally trusting of their officials,'” he told the newspaper, which reported that its efforts to reach Yerger and Ross for comment were unsuccessful.
According to the website for the PAC: “Responsible Solutions for Pennsylvania was created to promote local candidates for public office who agree with our principles of fiscal responsibility, a desire to hold the line on property taxes, accountability in government, putting the community before personal political interests, and promoting local economic development.”
The website includes an email address: in**@re********************.com; a mailing address: PO Box G, Hellertown PA 18055; and a form for visitors to fill out to receive more information via email.
The primary election is Tuesday, May 19.