Jim Christiana with his wife in NyCity as posted to his Twitter feed.
Jim Christiana with his wife in New York City in front of a car fire, as posted to his official Twitter feed.

State Representative Jim Christiana (R-Beaver) received more political contributions last year than all of the other five state reps for Beaver County combined, an investigation by the Beaver Countian has revealed.

Campaign finance reports from 2012 show Christiana received nearly $310,000 in political donations. Democratic Representative Rob Maztie came in a distant second, bringing in just shy of $84,000. Representative Jim Marshall, the county’s other Republican representative, received only $52,675 in contributions.

In just one month, between March 6th and April 9th of last year, Christiana’s campaign saw donations to his campaign in excess of $88,000. He brought in half of that sum again between April 10th and May 14th, another $48,000. The months between May and October saw an additional $164,400 added to his coffers. Despite extensive spending by the candidate, Christiana’s campaign account had over a quarter of a million dollars sitting in it at one point during the last election cycle.

By comparison, Christiana’s rival in the last election, Democrat Bobby Williams, raised just over $20,000 during his entire campaign.

While Representative Christiana failed to respond to inquiries from the Beaver Countian made at the end of March, Beaver County Commissioners say they were stunned to learn just how much money has been flowing through his hands.

“I find it very surprising to hear that amount of cash would be available to a state level candidate like Jim Christiana,” said Beaver County Commissioner Dennis Nichols, a fellow Republican. “I can’t help but to wonder why people would be giving him that much money.”

“And he talks about us… I would like to know what on earth he spent all of that on,” added Democratic Commissioner Tony Amadio. Representative Christiana recently wrote a letter to the editor, in which he criticized the Beaver County Commissioners for what he asserted was a lack of transparency.

The Lavish Spending

Jim Christiana maintains a publicly funded district office on Brodhead Road in Center Township. That office, like similar ones run by all state reps, is paid for with tax dollars, and provides constituent services to the general public (It is interesting to note, the office is leased for $1,817 per month from Charles Betters, one of Christiana’s major campaign contributors). But Christiana is the only representative in Beaver County, and one of the few representatives in the state, to maintain a privately funded campaign office that runs year-round.

Located on Third Street in Beaver, the office is staffed by a full-time campaign worker, Jennifer Price, who he pays $51,000 a year to help manage his political activities and organize various fundraising efforts. Christiana spent an additional $7,500 to pay Joshua Konecheck, a staffer who worked for his campaign part-time last year. Thousands more were spent to lease the office situated above Mario’s Pizza, and to pay for other operating expenses associated with the location, including more than $3,800 to Verizon Wireless.

tinderboxOver $3,000 was spent by Christiana’s Campaign last year on cigars, bought from places like Tinderbox International located in Harrisburg, which specializes in selling “the world’s finest cigars.” Finance Reports also show Christiana spent thousands paying for meals during “meetings” at places including the Hershey Country Club, Laurel Valley Golf Club, Rivercrest Golf Club, the Club at Shadow Lakes, Heinz Field, PNC Park, the Capital Grille in Pittsburgh, and the swanky Cioppino Restaurant and Cigar Bar. Those meal expenses don’t include the thousands spent as part of fundraisers held by the candidate.

In December of last year, Christiana traveled to New York City to attend the annual “Pennsylvania Society Holiday Dinner“, an event the Philadelphia Enquirer has dubbed an opportunity for “wealthy special interests to mingle with the movers and shakers in state government.”

cioppinoChristiana’s campaign spent over $4,500 for him to attend the function, which included $114 at The Art Of Shaving on Madison Avenue, $184 spent on Cigars, hundreds spent on clothing at shops like Astor & Black and Johnston & Murphy, along with a $1,400 hotel bill from the Waldorf Astoria on Park Avenue. The campaign also paid an additional $1,684 directly to Jim Christian as un-itemized “PA Society Expense Reimbursements.”

Also notable among Christiana’s expenses last year: $1,200 in dues to the Fort McIntosh Club in Beaver (a men’s club that “provides leaders with a unique opportunity for social interaction”), $1,895 paid to the US Postal Service in Beaver on October 26th to “overnight a package to Harrisburg” (Christiana didn’t respond to inquiries about the shipment), and $2,500 to reimburse a donation from Nick Trombetta (founder of the Pennsylvania Charter Cyber School, whose office was recently raided by the FBI).

Representative Christiana also gave a total of $85,000 to the House Republican Campaign Committee (HRCC) last year in “donations” and “contributions.”

The Big Donors

The vast majority of Representative Jim Christiana’s campaign donations came from large Political Action Committees (PACs). The largest of those was the Students First PAC, a Pennsylvania group backed by large hedge fund managers and wealthy national school voucher advocates. On March 26th of last year, the group donated $25,000 to Christiana, followed by $10,000 on October 9th, $25,000 on October 12th, $25,000 on October 15th, $15,000 on October 16th, and another $25,000 on October 22nd. All said, Christiana raked in a staggering $125,000 last year from the organization.

The Fighting Chance PA PAC, another pro-voucher group (which shares the name of a purported grassroots campaign affiliated with the Pennsylvania Catholic Coalition), gave $25,000 to Christiana last May.

Last July, the Beaver Countian published an exhaustive investigative report which revealed ties between Students First, Fighting Chance, and yet another PAC, “Commonsense For The Commonwealth.” Students First and Fighting Chance had donated a combined $120,000 to Common Sense, but “accidentally” mailed those checks to Jim Christiana’s campaign office in Beaver. The Treasurer for Common Sense, which has a registered address in Harrisburg, turned out to be Scott Wolford, one of Christiana’s long time friends and political supporters who lives in Brighton Township.

Christiana also received $7,500 from a similarly named “Parents And Teachers for Putting Students First”, which lists itself as “an affiliate of Students First.” That organization’s website features a large photo of Christiana, declaring him to be one of their “Featured Endorsements.”

Other large donations included $10,000 from Michael Guerra (who owns a trucking company in Washington, PA), $5,000 each from Chuck Betters (local real estate tycoon) and Mark Betters, $5,000 from Walmart’s PAC, $5,000 from Anthony Alexander (CEO of First Energy) along with $2,600 from First Energy PAC, $5,000 from David Barensfeld (notable Republican campaign contributor and CEO of the Ellwood Group), $1,000 from Morry David (brother of Sheriff George David), and donations from an alphabet soup of other PACs including PA Life PAC, Highmark Health PAC, Markwest Liberty PAC, Hospitals Association of Pennsylvania PAC, Chesapeake Energy PAC, Alpha Natural Resources PAC, Comcast Corporation & NBC Universal PAC, Z PAC (Pennsylvania Society of Anesthesiologists), The Bank of New York Mellon Corp PAC, PECO Energy PAC, Bank Of America Corp PAC, Eckert Seamans PA PAC, Keystone Leadership PAC, PA Insurance PAC, PA Bar PAC, PA Medical PAC, Family PAC, PA Bankers PAC, among others.

The Legislation

Representative Christiana sponsored 165 House Bills in the last legislative session, 9 of which listed him as the primary sponsor.

Christiana’s House Bill 240 sought to establish an “open enrollment program” that would allow students to attend a public school district of their choosing. House Bill 1708 would provide public funds in the form tax credits and grants for students to attend private and parochial schools. House Bill 15 established PennWATCH, a public online database of all state government expenditures.

Other legislation proposed by Christiana included a mandate to sell the Governor’s Mansion, providing for certificates of death without a cause of death listed, along with designating January as “Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month,” and October 17 as “Interior Design Day.”

In-Depth: Searchable Expense And Contribution Reports

[divider /]
Christiana’s Campaign Expenses In 2012
[table id=95 /]
[divider /]
Christiana’s Campaign Donations In 2012
[table id=96 /]
[divider /]

76 COMMENTS

  1. PAY FOR YOUR OWN MEMBERSHIPS TO CLUB BEAVER YOU CHEAP FUK! I HATE POLITICIANS! CHRISTIANA YOU GOT MORE BUMPER STICKERS ON YOUR ASS THAN A NASCAR! SMELLS LIKE :crap:

     
  2. And you wonder why most people say they hate politics, and politicians. Here we are trying to just make ends meet. All i ever hear is all the raises people in politics give themselves and secretaries, but always forget about the little people who are the ones who put them there to begin with

     
  3. Nothing I read in this article seems to be illegal. If people want to donate their money to this guy they are free to do so. If they don’t like how he spends it, they can stop giving it to him.

     
  4. Christiana is a tea party weasel constantly preaching about the evils of government spending. He got his, screw the rest of us. Personally I think he’s an arrogant little p****.

     
  5. Its all apart if the game right jim.. He loves the game hell you should see what he doesn’t claim the golf trips,, retreats, envelopes, mysterious things that stay to long in tanning booth hmmm wink wink,

    Yeah prayer breakfast, then shake down give the young man credit he plays all angles then uses tax payer money to honor veterans then gives little pins that are made in Korea. Mean while clearly can see he doesn’t care about taxpayers to school districts that are crippling homeowners, why he is in bed with voucher players that are out to bankrupt homeowners, what had he done to help? Nothing? His soul is lost to the dark side they give out the marching orders

     
  6. Pieces of shit like him in Harrisburgh are holding the purse strings that are strangling Frienship Ridge while they all fill their pockets at everyone elses expence.

     
  7. Following in Veon’s footsteps…acts just like him arrogant, corrupt and thinking he’s unbeatable. They all fall eventually.

     
  8. Personally, I’m more concerned with how he spends taxpayer money than I am with how he spends campaign donations. I don’t really see anything in the story that indicates improper use of tax money. With that said, I don’t think I’ll be in any hurry to make a campaign donation to him considering how he chooses to spend those funds. I imagine that if any of his previous donors take issue with the expenses charged to his campaign account(s), they will also choose to refrain from donating.

     
  9. I want a bill sponsored by Christiania that get all hard working Pennsylvanians reimbursed for their hair cuts, cigars and for their clothes they purchase or are required to purchase for work. I not talking a tax break I’m talking getting reimbursed for them. And here is also another good idea, if we don’t have those kinds of high end salons, cigar shops and clothing stores in pennsylvania you work on getting them to come here. Beaver county is and has never been the high end type. Most of us grew up on chipped ham and bologna sandwich’s. rep Christiania how about spending that kind of money here in this area I bet just to throw it out there but King Beaver Cigar shop in Monaca would love to sell you some cigars and any independent salon or barber shop would give you an awesome haircut for much less and you could tip them the gap and make their day! Just saying!!

     
  10. Finally a news source for Beaver County that investigates anyone who is crooked. J.P., you are great! Please continue to write about the people who screw over the little guy. This is what investigative reporting is all about.

     
  11. @Karen Cleary get off your knees a puddle is forming around them i’m concerned if you drowned in what you can’t swallow

     
  12. YOU PEOPLE WANT TO LIVE IN YHE THE PAST FUCK YOU!!!! JP EXPOSE ALL OF THE ROACHES!!! BRING THEM OUT!! BC NEEDS A CHANGE YOU GO JP! !!!!!!!!!!

     
  13. Well, let’s see. I don’t know what this kid has done for this county, I cetainly am not aware of anything. Hey, you have corporations bending over backwards to fund his campaign, so now they want something in return. That’s how these folks buy politicians, However, when you drive around in a fancy car, spend $100 on a HAIRCUT, smoke expensive cigars and stay in a world class hotel in New York City, there is a problem. I’m a democrat and I helped back Bobby Williams, not that Bobby Williams from Aliquippa, and he didn’t have a chance to go up against the kid because of the funding. I would have been pissed if he would have used the donations for haircuts and the such. You’re right, “blindd” He’s like another Veon, except Veon did things for this county, what has this kid done? I was at a place where I said hello to him and he and never gave this writer a node. Spend your donations how you want kid, but it will catch up to you and your Republican buddies will turn their backs also. Well, maybe not, at least the rich ones won’t because their going to the same place to have their haircut and buying expensive cigars like you.

     
  14. That just goes to show that these slime ball crumbs are in it for themselves, there living the life, big shots, they would die if they had to do a honest days work, what a scam no qualifacations just smooth talk the voters, they make fools out of HONEST TAXPAYERS, i always thought that money had to be used for flyers, signs, NEWSPAPER ADS ETC, NO WONDER SOME OF THESE FOOLS WANT TO HOLD A POLITICAL OFFICE…..WHAT A JOKE FROM MAYORS TO THE GOVS SIT RIDICULOUS…

     
  15. WHAT HAS THIS GUY DONE FOR HIS DISTRICT ? NOTHING ! BIANCUCCI DID A HELL OF ALOT FOR HOPEWELL AND CENTER WHILE HE WAS IN OFFICE, THIS GUY IS A DO NOTHING YES MAN FOR THE GOV !!! LIVE LARGE NOW IT MIGHT NOT LAST, USUALLY DO NOTHINGS DONT GET RE ELECTED ! FOR THE PEOPLE THAT THINK THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH LIVING LARGE ON CAMPAIGN FUNDS, YOU ARE PROBABLY RELATED TO THEM. PLAIN AND SIMPLE, THEY ARE BEING BOUGHT .

     
  16. Even though his Expense Account (Lavish Spending) is questionable, some of these are required expenditures. He has to pay rent to someone. $51,000 a year to a full-time employee and $7500 to a part-timer may seem a little high for office work, but that’s his decision. As far as cigars, dinners etc., he may be living high, and some may say immorally so, while everyone else is barely squeaking by, but it’s not illegal.

    My question is with his (Big Donors) “additional” income. Therein lies the problem with modern-day government top to bottom. There is NO way thousand of dollars in contributions don’t sway the final outcome. This is the way things are now done locally, on a state and the federal level as well.

    I’ll give you one example. I am against fracking for environmental reasons (please don’t argue, I’m just proving a point). Do you think Jim Christiana really cares what I think when he receives thousands in donations from Chesapeake Energy PAC? He should, but he doesn’t.
    He’ll come up with all kinds of reasons why it’s good (but no mention of the thousands in donations) and that have nothing to do with why I think it’s bad (no mention of the fact that I didn’t donate anything).

    I am 68 and have seen things slowly change over the past 50 years. No where is it more noticeable than in the discreet erosion of the freedom of the press, our so-called First Amendment Right. I read somewhere that all the major publications and newspapers are now controlled by a small number of people/corporations. You only read what they want you to read, or they slant it. Kudos to JP and others like him who keep investigative journalism alive. Someone has to get the complete truth out into the light of the day.

    Jim Christiana may seem small potatoes now, but Corbett was a nobody once upon a time also. I remember what my dad said many years ago, and it’s more true today as far as politics is concerned: Money talks. Bullshit walks.

     
  17. It doesn’t matter if it’s legal or not. This kind of spending reeks of everything that is bad about politics. A bought and paid for politician is not doing the business of his constituents. I would think donors would be upset to think that this was how their money was being spent. Unless, you are paying him off for something in return, which is what this appears to be. And what on earth could cost $1800+ to mail?!

     
  18. @Dan- does it qualify for journalism if one is not a journalist per se? How about sensationalism, or maybe tabloid? Side note: THIS is a system of political corruption/lobbying/payoffs that is rampant on both sides of the aisle. I’ll hold my breath for the fair and balanced reporting…

     
  19. WELL what laws broken? Campaign finance law? yes the department of state should be contacted, the cigars alone seem to be out of wack, the little friend from brighton twp that just happens to be on a PAC that gets 100k, and lies on addresses and location something fishy going on!

     
  20. It’s all political. Christiana was critical of the BC Commissioners ( 3 stooges) and rents from Betters. The Beaver Countian is as biased as the Times.

     
  21. Shouldn’t campaign funds be used for campaigns. They made such a big deal because Charlie Camp used some of his for an education. There are campaign laws BUT not for everyone.

     
  22. This is somewhat amusing.. Lets see , didn’t Mr CJ Betters also give Mr Nichols 1000$ for campaign funds ? Plus many of the county staff that gave him funds received substantial raises this year ( county solicitors, secretaries, etc ).. Ironic I say .. Oh ,and I believe the. raise in waste management had that good ‘ol friends and family plan attached too….
    There are no politicians without ties that bind them.. One should never speak of ill of another.

     
  23. What a shame, there are people in this county who are not working, there kids go without and this creep is living a life style. How much for cigars? Hair cuts and meals? Go out and find some business to create jobs, so people can work, what the f—k is this crazy or what? If people vote for him again they deserve what they get….Why didn’t you raise some money to keep friendship ridge open? SHAME ON YOU…..

     
  24. But oh my friends he just may have , take note and read the campaign finance election law, also some may be surprised of who all kept some wedding gifts ehhh.

    Also what was shipped over night that cost 1800 bucks. Hmmmmm

     
    • Regardless of anything else he does, you are exactly right on that one. Christiana has been working on bringing gas jobs here. New, good paying gas industry jobs are exactly what Beaver County needs. The Democrats in BC ( Jesse White is a good example) have been working to kill the gas industry while its still in its infancy. The only thing they know how to do is regulate and create government jobs which are really just a drain on society.

       
      • I would object to the characterization of my approach to the natural gas industry. I am in no way trying to kill gas industry jobs; I have pushed the gas industry to hire MORE local people based on what I’ve seen in Washington County. I have also held irresponsible companies accountable, which I do not apologize for. You’ll see what I mean after certain companies have been in Beaver County for a few years.

         
  25. Christiana working on gas jobs lol, you fools think he is only one?

    he gave away the farm to them, those boys sprinkled little dust from Texas and Jimmy was in lala land.

    Gas jobs and industry will be boost to area and its here because are area has it in the ground we got a cracker plant on because we have good location.

    We almost lost it because Jimmy wanted it to be in Aliquippa for chuckie betters,

    The other state reps worked just as hard but looked out more for area and environment ,Jimmy boy didn’t care he doesn’t pay property taxes he gets tattoo and plays wanna be boxer and looks for free dinners and golf, such a car salesman he is little mike veon lifestyle but mike fought for the working class the under 100k crowd

     
  26. I agree that politicians need to be kept honest, but isn’t the fact that he has raised the most money a good thing?! It seems that he raises money to support certain organizations over and over again. Perhaps it is because he actually beleives in these organizations and they in turn support him to fight for their cause. His finances are public and if they don’t beleive he’s doing the right thing, they can choose not to give him money. The real problem is that companies spend such a high dollar amount on politics instead of giving back to their employees, not that one politican spends campaign funds on cigars while raising campaign funds.

     
  27. a couple of the expenditures are a little questionable but as a democrat I have no problem with any of this. It is campaign money and if the people who donated it to him are not upset I certainly am not.

     
  28. @Judy and Ron , I agree to a point

    But what has he done he preaches transparency and wasteful spending claimed the democrat he replaced wasn’t doing his due dillegence what had he done, and please don’t day Marcellus gas, we almost lost cracker plane because of his pushing for betters

    Would I do an eye roll and occasional Bitch about 100 hair cut if he was out in front save us homeowners taxdollars or preventing increase yes would I defend him yes, sadly I voted and supported this kid who has grown to a young man with kid mentality , I can nit no more he became worst than what was elected, how???? Like I said what had he done for beaver county nothing actually became a hypocrite with a smoke screen and fit in bed with the dame things and people that manipulated the democrats, , look st where money comes from, where he lives hire much he pays, where his office is located, who both landlords are,? Its veon with a cuter smile.

    call the rep ask him what he did when pulled over by state police doing a 100 on 376, he is a punk, and I am glad there is video because its un disputable

     
  29. I usually like what JP has to write, but this is a bit lame. Is what he spends on questionable….maybe so, but unless he is breaking a law somewhere it is not tax dollars. We have a president who is using tax dollars to send his young daughters on spring break vacation, to host parties and play 118 rounds of golf in a little over 4 years and nobody complains about that. I think the kid is doing a decent job and is certainly no worse than the rest of the hacks in government.

     
    • Now this is what is called one asshole politician protecting another,, They both do very questionable things but hide behind the bible to cover up there lies and cheating ways. Only small minded brainwashed people follow these 2 asshole and believe anything they say..

       
  30. The only people who should be surprised or concerned by this “investigative” piece is Mr. C’s campaign contributors. It is too easy to imply that ‘taxpayer’ dollars were wasted, they weren’t. He seems to be just misspending campaign money. Given his big dollar friends, it doesn’t seem to be an issue except for the local BC people who think giving him $50, $100, $1,000 is a good idea.

     
  31. It’s always wise to follow the money. It’s an established news tenet, and we’re glad you’re providing information. Just remember to balance. I agree with Karen; there are many good stories in Beaver County.

     
  32. Well, i know for a fact the democrat before him did make large donations to Hopewell and CenterTwp Parks, ballfield and playground renovations, spend it where the people that voted in in will see it, not at the cigar shops, high priced haircuts and expensive cloths for you and the mrs., wise up voters these young kid politicians are a joke . ie. LUKE, this kid, comon wise the hell up…..keep spending kid, it will run out soon , WALMARTS HIRING

     
  33. Jimmy is just another dirty politician. So sad someone so young could be bought so easily. Jokes on us, we elected him. Jimmy can I get a cigar overnighted from Cuba? I will pay u? And vote for u.

     
  34. Agreed. Whatever Jim decides to do with money that was donated to HIM has nothing to do with my tax dollars. I didn’t donate any money to his campaign so I’m not upset about the way he spends his donations. As far as I am concerned, Jim can do whatever he wants to with the money that was, quite literally, handed to him to do with what he wishes. I have never been Jim’s biggest fan but did everyone who donated to him honestly think it was all going to go to legitimate political cause?

     
  35. This isn’t about what he spent it’s about the money donated that makes you corrupt. The larger the donation the more obliated you become to their wishes, wants and needs. The noose is tightening. Many of you are missing the purpose of the article..

     
  36. I say good for him…. If he is talented enough for people to award him with that kind of money then I certainly say… Enjoy it. What we think about this is irrelevant because it was never our money to begin with.

     
  37. I think we must be careful not to confuse taxpayer money and political contributions. Certainally there are things in this report reasonable people would consider excessive but you can’t tell someone what they can do with their own money. The people that gave him money for his campagin should be the ones complaining as it is their money they gave to him. If it doesn’t bother them that would be called freedom to do what one wants with their own money. And, all the money in the world will not trump an informed public and that is up to us. None the less he is a public figure and it is appropriate to print this as long as it is true and can be supported by evidence. Dennis McKee

     
  38. There was a local politician who took a similar path that Jimmy will soon be roomies with, his name is Mike Veon. Thought he was untouchable. Karma gets you sooner rather than later. 😥

     
  39. Politicians are supposed to be motivated by the greater good. The reason they get involved in the first place is because they want to serve the community and the people. I understand that this is not taxpayer money, but how Mr. Jim spends this money say a lot about the kind of person he is and what his motivations are. A man with convictions and a soul would not allow himself to live a more lavish lifestyle just because he was elected to political office. A person who truly is in it for the right reasons would life live pretty much as he always has and use most of the extra money for community purposes. I do understand the need for travel and meals, but is it really necessary to always have the most expensive accommodation? Do we really need multiple offices just miles apart? Politicians should not be a privileged class akin to royalty, that’s not what our forefathers had in mind.

     
    • Sorry to hear that but you are mistaking me for my father. When or if Jimmy starts spending tax dollars like that then this could mean something… but until then all this article does is stir the pot. Let the people who gave the money worry about what he does with it. JP usually writes some good stuff. Very informative without a doubt but all this does is spark poor emotions in people.

       
  40. I thought Republicans didn’t like spending? Oh, that’s right, unless it’s somebody else’s money. He’s a jagoff, period. Oh yeah, he’s also a big fat hypocrite. Boy, these “save, save, save” politicians are sure getting expensive!

     
  41. Young and dumb, keep on voting for him, because I did NOT. Shame on him. People in his district struggling to make ends meet. What has he done for this district??? What about saving the jobs that are on their way out??? J.P. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.

     
  42. @Plevel and kanaskepy think what is at issue is what and how the money is used and derived.

    Some need to realize yes this not tax dollars but need to remember your only allowed to use it in certain manner, they have laws and ethics and some have been fined and convicted some currently serving time for these violations, Christiana looks likehe has some grey areas to explain and better have proof of expenditures.

     

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!

Please enter your name here