Press Releases

PA-07 Debate Fact Check: Scheller’s Claims About H.R. 1 Are Outright Lies

Oct 08, 2020

Brennan Center: “H.R.1 specifies that no taxpayer money will be used…”

Congresswoman Susan Wild took on megadonor Lisa Scheller in the second debate for Pennsylvania’s Seventh Congressional District today. Scheller, an ally of corrupt corporate special interests, resorted to desperate lies about Rep. Wild’s efforts to end the corrupting influence of dark money in politics – lies that have already been debunked.

Scheller falsely claimed that Rep. Wild sponsored a bill to give millions of taxpayer dollars to her own campaign and to fund personal expenses.

Rep. Wild supported a bill that is the toughest, most sweeping anti-corruption bill passed by Congress in more than 50 years – a bill that cracks down on corruption in both parties.

That bill, H.R.1, specifically states that no incumbent could use campaign funds to cover personal expenses.

What’s more, in order to take on the corrupt system where elected officials are responsive to their big money donors instead of their constituents, matched funds for campaigns would come from fines on corporate bad actors.

Here are the facts, as previously reported on by news sources and institutions:

  • The Morning Call’s Laura Olson released a fact-check in September outlining several lies in one of Lisa Scheller’s attack ads that made the same erroneous claims. [The Morning Call]

  • The money for the matching donations would come from a 2.75 percent fee assessed on civil and criminal financial penalties with the government, which then would be earmarked for a ‘Freedom From Influence Fund.’ [Washington Post]

  • No appropriated funds shall be used for the Freedom From Influence Fund. In the event the balance of the Fund is found to be insufficient to cover the projected costs of the matching funds, the FEC will reduce the match rate to ensure the fund can meet projected match payments. [Democracy Reform Task Force]

  • Congressional Budget Office: “The bill would provide no source of funds for the Freedom From Influence Fund; without funding, those programs would not be implemented and thus those provisions would have no cost.” [Congressional Budget Office]

  • Current law and H.R. 1 expressly prohibit Members of Congress from using campaign funds to cover personal expenses. [FEC,, H.R.1, Text, SEC. 5302, 2(C)]

“Lisa Scheller, who opposes efforts to reduce corruption and hold politicians more accountable, is lying in a desperate attempt to deceive Pennsylvania voters. Susan Wild helped lead the passage of the most sweeping reform bill in generations that takes on corruption in both parties, strengthens ethics laws, and ends dark money. And, unlike Lisa Scheller, Susan Wild doesn’t take a dime of corporate PAC money. She relies on small donors to fund her campaign to ensure she is accountable to families in her district, not corporate special interests,” said End Citizens United President Tiffany Muller. “Lisa Scheller and her corporate, big money allies are lying about Susan Wild because she is a threat to the corrupt status quo that they are taking advantage of at the expense of everyone else.”