In a desperate attempt to change the political narrative, failed State Senate candidate and current CEO of the Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs, Matt Brouillette authored an editorial in The Hill. Brouillette posited, while failing to mention his own embarrassing loss that left him scraping at the bottom of the barrel of Donald Trump talking points, there was one race that bucked the progressive trend in Pennsylvania elections: the Superior Court race of Amanda Green-Hawkins.
For example, one story not making many headlines is that two judicial seats on Pennsylvania’s Superior Court — one of two statewide appellate courts — were also up for election this year. Pennsylvania is one of about a dozen states that hold partisan judicial elections. The election was tight, but Republican Megan McCarthy King secured the votes to win one of the seats.
What Brouillette also failed to mention is his organization’s disgraceful role in that race. As reported in the news, the Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs was behind an ad that darkened the skin tone of Amanda Green-Hawkins, a Black woman and labor lawyer. The ad drew comparisons to the infamous Willie Horton ad. In a move further pulling from Trump’s white nationalist playbook, Commonwealth Partners Chamber spokesperson Gina Diorio attacked the press when questioned about their motives behind the racist advertisement.
The Commonwealth Partners Chamber, in its few short years of existence since spinning off from the Commonwealth Foundation, has garnered a reputation for funding and promoting white supremacy in Pennsylvania. For instance, groups affiliated with Matt Brouillette and the Commonwealth Partners Chamber, have previously donated to outted white supremacist Daryl Metcalfe. The Commonwealth Partners Chamber also gave $15,000 to State Senator Doug Mastriano. Senator Mastriano used his social media pages to spread hateful content. They also gave former State Senator Mike Folmer a thousand dollars weeks before he was arrested on child pornography charges.
This is no surprise. Both Brouillette and Diorio are former employees of the Commonwealth Foundation. The Commonwealth Foundation is one of the largest recipients of Scaife Foundation grants. The Scaife Foundation is one of the biggest funders of white supremacy and racism in the country. Recently, the New York Times did an in-depth analysis of the millions the foundation has poured into dark money hate groups. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette also covered their deep ties to the Trump administration as well. The article caused a backlash in Pennsylvania forcing organizations to cut ties with the Scaife Foundation.
The shameful conduct from the Commonwealth Partners Chamber of darkening the skin tone of a Black woman in a negative political ad comes at a time when hate crimes and racism are on the rise in Pennsylvania and nationally. According to the latest report by the Center for American Women and Politics, Higher Heights, and Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics, there are currently only three statewide elected Black women in statewide executive office. Pennsylvania has 8 Black women elected to Pennsylvania’s legislature. It’s organizations and individuals like the Commonwealth Partners Chamber, Brouillette, and Diorio who use racism for political gain that exacerbate these statistics.