Democrat State Rep. Patty Kim announced her intentions last week to forgo re-election in 2024 to her house seat and instead aim for a promotion, hoping to unseat Republican State Senator John DiSanto in the 15th District in Harrisburg.
Kim has served as a Harrisburg city councilwoman and a journalist, but most of her biographies in media accounts leave off a recent embarrassment.
Rep. Patty Kim has also served as the treasurer for the House Democratic Campaign Committee since 2016. The committee has since fired its executive director, Trevor Southerland, for financial irregularities, leaving open the possibility that Kim shared responsibility given her role as treasurer.
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As Broad + Liberty first reported in late July, numerous campaign finance filings by the House Democratic Campaign Committee since 2020 showed dozens of five-figure “reimbursements” to Southerland, totaling $365,000.
“Reimbursements of that size immediately raise giant red flags,” said Charlie Gerow, a longtime Harrisburg-based political consultant, pundit, and former Republican candidate for governor.
In accordance with the law, Broad + Liberty then requested reimbursement receipts. The documentation Southerland provided fell short by over $100,000.
The committee fired Southerland days after the follow-up report.
“For several months, HDCC leadership has worked to tighten internal controls and improve recordkeeping to ensure full and complete compliance with all applicable campaign finance laws. A comprehensive campaign compliance audit is underway to ensure that all reports of the committee are accurate, complete, and in full compliance,” Adam Bonin, an attorney for the committee, said at the time.
The Pennsylvania campaign finance website shows Rep. Patty Kim became treasurer of the committee in January 2016 and continued in that role until January of this year.
Even though Kim left the position in January, she was treasurer while at least sixteen of the questionable reimbursements were paid, the largest of which were $23,032.56 and $39,216.08.
Reimbursements of that size immediately raise giant red flags.
Requests for comment to Kim’s campaign as well as to the House Democratic Campaign Committee were not returned.
As of this publication, Southerland’s resume on the professional social media site LinkedIn does not show that he has picked up new employment, and the committee does not yet appear to have named a replacement for him.
The House Democratic Campaign Committee is focused on electing Democrats to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives with the specific goal of trying to capture a majority in that chamber, which it did after the 2022 elections.
Kim was successful on her very first run for the state house in 2012, according to Ballotpedia.
DiSanto has served in the state senate since 2016. His re-election in 2020 shows the district’s competitive nature, as Disanto won 51–48.
Todd Shepherd is Broad + Liberty’s chief investigative reporter. Send him tips at email@example.com, or use his encrypted email at firstname.lastname@example.org. @shepherdreports