Hershey fight goes political with $100K donation to Kane campaign
HARRISBURG — A former board member of the multibillion-dollar charity that controls The Hershey Co. has made a $100,000 campaign contribution to Kathleen Kane, the Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania attorney general, reports made public on Monday show.
The hefty donation from Robert Reese to Kane was made amid a pending state investigation of the Hershey Trust, whose board was once chaired by the father-in-law of Kane’s Republican opponent, David Freed.
Reese, a grandson of the man who created Reese’s peanut butter cups, is a former member of the boards of the Hershey Trust and the school for disadvantaged children that it benefits.
He sued the trust over alleged financial improprieties last year, a few months after the attorney general’s office revealed it was conducting a civil investigation of transactions by the trust. The trust sought dismissal of the lawsuit, denying any wrongdoing. Reese later withdrew it.
Freed’s father-in-law, former attorney general LeRoy S. Zimmerman, was the trust’s board chairman during the period in question. Freed has said he would turn the probe over to a special prosecutor if he is elected and it is still active when the next attorney general is sworn in in January.
Attempts to reach Reese by telephone were unsuccessful on Monday.
Kane, a former Lackawanna County prosecutor and political newcomer whose victorious campaign in the April primary was financed mainly by more than $2 million from her husband, has raised nearly $3 million since then without significant help from her family.
Freed, the Cumberland County district attorney, was not opposed in the GOP primary and has raised more than $2 million.
Both candidates released summaries of their contributions and expenditures on Friday, the state’s deadline for the last reports required before the Nov. 6 election.