Refusal to release early donors exposes gap in Pennsylvania law

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania. (AP) — Gov. Josh Shapiro’s refusal to reveal who paid for his glitzy inaugural party has exposed a gap in state law that allows Pennsylvania governors to avoid the transparency sometimes required elsewhere.

Federal law requires presidential inauguration committees to disclose information about donors who donate more than $200 to the inauguration celebration. Such laws exist in states such as Virginia, Maryland, and New Jersey, as well as in cities such as New York and Philadelphia, where cities also limit the amount an individual donor can donate to an inauguration.

Many other states do not have such disclosure laws, and millions of dollars can be surreptitiously provided by donors who seek favorable treatment under state law, have contracts with the state government, or rely on state government subsidies.

That raises serious conflicts of interest concerns, said Aaron McKean, an attorney at the Washington-based Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit good government group.

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