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Democrat Ashley Lunkenheimer reveals a super PAC funder: Her mom | Clout

Clout has learned more about a mysterious super PAC in Pa.'s Fifth District race.

L: Ashley Lunkenheimer, a candidate for Pennsylvania’s Fifth District. R: Lunkenheimer’s mother, Molly Shepard.
L: Ashley Lunkenheimer, a candidate for Pennsylvania’s Fifth District. R: Lunkenheimer’s mother, Molly Shepard.Read morePHOTOS BY LUNKENHEIMER CAMPAIGN AND TOM GRALISH / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Democrat Ashley Lunkenheimer was talking about her grassroots support at a forum last week in South Philadelphia, highlighting that she has "over 1,100 individual donations" in her campaign for Congress, when a man in the audience yelled out.

"Who's funding the super PAC?" he shouted.

He was referring to Progress in PA-05, an outside group that is backing Lunkenheimer in the primary for Pennsylvania's Fifth District — and that can spend unlimited amounts of money as long as it doesn't coordinate with her.

At the debate, Lunkenheimer suggested that she knew three people who donated to the super PAC, saying they told her "they believe so much in the importance of this race and my candidacy that they would like to provide additional support." But she didn't name them, which led to criticism from some progressives.

Now, Lunkenheimer is disclosing one of the super PAC's funders to Clout: It's her mother, Molly Shepard.

She added that she wants to end Citizens United and overhaul the country's campaign finance laws.

Shepard is a powerful figure in the region. She is the CEO of the executive-coaching firm The Leader's Edge, and has sat on the board of a number of local nonprofits.

So far, the pro-Lunkenheimer super PAC has spent $56,000 on mailings in support of her, according to campaign finance filings.

That is far less than what another independent group in the race has spent on the election. A labor-backed super PAC called Middle Class PAC has poured about $500,000 into TV ads for Rich Lazer, a former aide to Mayor Kenney with close ties to city's politically influential electricians union.

Lunkenheimer's television advertising has been funded entirely by her own campaign, according to federal disclosures. However, her team has posted B-roll of Lunkenheimer online, which federal campaigns often do so that super PACs can use it in ads.

Shepard has not responded to requests for comment about the super PAC supporting her daughter. The committee's treasurer also has not returned our calls.

Lunkenheimer is one of 10 Democrats running for Pennsylvania's Fifth District, which is largely based in Delaware County but also includes parts of Philly and Montgomery County.