- It's entirely reasonable that a challenger may not, in fact, know which businesses have contracts with the school district. I can't find such as list on-line at the Scranton School District website (link HERE).
- There is no guarantee that a challenger will, in fact, win (and therefore end up being in a position to influence district vendor decisions).
The above noted, I do believe that the "higher road" here would be for a successful challenger (who has received money from district vendors...knowingly or otherwise) to return contributions from district vendors or donate amounts equivalent to those contributions to charity.
What about a challenger actively soliciting money from businesses that they know are district vendors? Yeah, that doesn't pass the smell test, but in reality there is no perfect system for preventing all graft, and it's simply not possible to legislate something like "honorable intentions". At best I think we can and we should be reasonable in how we approach things like preventing "pay to play". The current system under which a sitting director like Bob Sheridan can actively solicit and receive contributions from district vendors represents a door that is simply too wide open to impropriety.
As noted yesterday, Director Sheridan should return his district vendor contributions and refuse any future contributions as long as he is a sitting director.