Philadelphia-area Democrat Scott Wallace has been "fighting for change his whole life," his daughters boast in a TV ad.
The congressional candidate helped uncover the horrific damage Agent Orange wreaked on soldiers, they say, and led a charitable group championing liberal causes.
There's no doubt that Wallace is a progressive bulldog. He even comes from an iconic left-wing family: His grandfather was Henry Wallace, the "New Deal visionary" and onetime vice president under Franklin D. Roosevelt.
When it comes to Wallace's net worth, though, he's not exactly the face of change. In fact, he's pretty much the opposite of it.
Like the majority of Washington lawmakers, Wallace is a millionaire. But Clout has learned that he's well-to-do even in that elite group.
Wallace's wealth is between $127 million and $309 million, according to our analysis of his financial disclosure statement. That would make him the third-richest member of Congress if he joined the deep-pocketed chamber today.
Congressional candidates are required to disclose a range of the value of their assets, making precise calculations impossible, but we used the same methodology as the watchdog Center for Responsive Politics. His campaign said his net worth is "closer" to $100 million.
"I do have substantial assets," Wallace said in an interview. "I do not have a jet. I do not have a yacht. I do not drive fancy cars. I drive a Chevy. I grew up in Doylestown. I waited tables. I pumped gas."
Wallace, who is largely self-funding his campaign, said he's "putting a significant amount of my own assets into this because this is the most important thing I can imagine doing for America at this point in my life — this is a very expensive district to run in, but it is crucial in the Democrats' efforts to retake the House."
Wallace is campaigning in Bucks County's First District, where Republican Brian Fitzpatrick is the incumbent.
Wallace inherited his wealth: His grandfather founded a seed company that was bought by DuPont for $10 billion in the 1990s. He owns a large number of stocks, with his biggest holding being DowDuPont.
A family feud may be brewing in Philly’s Northwest Coalition
Philadelphia's Northwest Coalition is one of the most powerful political alliances in the city. Just ask Mayor Kenney: One of the biggest reasons he's running this town is because U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans and former Councilwoman Marian Tasco, two leading Democrats in the coalition, endorsed him.
So if Evans and Tasco brawl, it could completely alter the balance of political power throughout the city.
That's why Clout listened closely when political insiders told us the two were in a family feud.
They pointed to a couple of pieces of evidence. One: Kevin Johnson, who is running against Evans for Congress, recently made his campaign pitch in front of the 50th Ward committee, which Tasco leads. Second, Evans isn't endorsing anyone in the race for the state House in Northwest Philly's 200th District, where Tasco favorite Melissa Scott is challenging State Rep. Chris Rabb.
Tasco said she "would love to have his endorsement" for Scott, but, "I think Congressman Evans made the best decision for him." As for why she allowed Johnson to ask her ward for her support, she said, "My ward is open to all candidates."
She added that Evans will be on her ward's sample ballot of recommended candidates. (Johnson will not.)
Evans, meanwhile, said only that his reelection campaign has been endorsed by both Tasco's 50th Ward committee as well as the Ninth Ward organization, which is controlled by Rabb. "I thank them both for their support," he said.
Perhaps there really isn't any trouble in paradise. Tasco explicitly denied it. Or perhaps you have to read between the lines. Either way, we'll keep an eye out for cracks in the Northwest Coalition. Because if there are any, it could create a power vacuum that very well may change city politics as we know it.
Was Rep. Taylor’s vote kosher?
Pennsylvania politicians were required to file their latest statements of financial interests this week. Normally, this is boring reading material. Except when it's not. (See above!)
An item in State Rep. John Taylor's 2017 statement caught our attention. Taylor, Philadelphia's soon-to-be-retired most powerful Republican, lists the large workers' comp law firm Pond Lehocky Stern Giordano as a source of income.
That's interesting because Taylor voted last month against Senate Bill 936, which would have overhauled the state's workers' comp system by creating a list of pre-approved drugs that doctors are permitted to prescribe.
Sam Pond, a co-founder of the law firm, has been leading the opposition to the idea. He's argued that it could prevent injured workers from accessing needed medicine.
Taylor told us Thursday that he didn't see a conflict in voting on S.B. 936 even though he had received money from Pond Lehocky: "It is not a conflict because I am a member of a class of people similarly situated (lawyers that deal with workman's compensation issues) that it may effect. Plus, it affected every workman's comp claimant in the state."
Taylor said Pond Lehocky paid him "a few hundred dollars for a case I sent" to the firm "a few years back."
The firm's PAC, Pennsylvanians for Injured Workers, has also supported Taylor, campaign finance records show.
We texted Taylor back Thursday to ask precisely what he meant by "a few hundred dollars." He responded that he's not positive, but "I think around $1,600."
Staff writer Angela Couloumbis contributed to this column.