The political contributions of natural-gas companies drilling in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale are being compiled and updated on a website launched by two public interest groups, Common Cause of Pennsylvania, and the Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania.
The site, MarcellusMoney.org, shows that, overall, the industry gave $3 million to statewide and legislative candidates from 2001 through March 2010.
The spending level is not excessive when compared to contributions from other interests, according to Eric Kratz, political director for the Pennsylvania Business Council (PBC), a statewide business group. PBC tracks political contributions from all major groups, including lobbyists.
"It's tough to make a direct comparison in a lot of cases," Kratz said. "Because some of the figures we have looked at include underwriting fundraisers paying for other events. But over that time period, $3 million would certainly not put them at the top of the list for contributions."
Barry Kauffman, executive director of Common Cause of Pennsylvania, said that it has occasionally published reports on the giving patterns of other groups, but it does not have the "resources" to launch websites tracking other contributors.
MarcellusMoney.org also showed that the contributions, as they do from most groups, go to both Republican and Democratic candidates.
Over the last 10 years: Republican Governor-Elect and Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett received $372,000; state senate Republican leader and Lieutenant Governor Joseph Scarnati received $117,000; Democratic Governor Ed Rendell received $84,000; and former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Onorato received $74,000.