GOP Congressman Accused Of Misusing PAC Funds

( A nonpartisan watchdog group has accused Pennsylvania Republican Congressman Mike Kelly of misusing funds from his leadership PAC to purchase “appreciation gifts,” “luxury trips, transportation, and dining.”

The Campaign Legal Center contends that Kelly violated House rules regarding the use of political action committee leadership funds, and has sent a letter calling on the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) to investigate the matter.

In its letter to the OCE, the watchdog group claims that from 2019 to 2020, Congressman Kelly’s leadership PAC spent nearly $78,000 at a five-star resort in Park City, Utah. Included in those expenses are over $18,000 in lodging from four separate occasions, nearly $600 was spent on limo service, another $300 in “hotel services,” and another $300 for food and beverages.

However, not all the expenses for the Park City visits are itemized. Nearly $16,000 was attributed to “unspecific purposes.” In reviewing the records, the Campaign Legal Center found that these expenses were allegedly listed with question marks and “see memos” without further details provided.

During the same 2019 to 2020 period, the group found that Kelly also took a number of other trips in which his PAC “paid large sums” for luxurious hotels and resorts. Kelly’s PAC spent over $19,000 at the Sea Island Resort in Georgia. Another $3,000 went to three separate Las Vegas hotels. And over $5,000 was spent at The Breakers, a five-star establishment in Palm Beach, Florida.

On top of that, Kelly’s PAC spent almost $20,000 on airfare and $2,000 on Amtrak tickets. Another $2,000 was spent on “evening tickets,” $7,000 on dining, and $200 on something listed as “appreciation gifts.”

In their letter to OCE, the Campaign Legal Center argued that leadership PACs are set up to enable lawmakers to raise and spend campaign funds for their colleagues running in competitive House and Senate races. But that doesn’t appear to be what Congressman Kelly’s leadership PAC was doing. The center noted that only 22 percent of the $205,000 spent by Kelly’s leadership PAC from 2019-2020 actually went toward other candidates, political parties, or groups.

KDKA in Pittsburgh reached out to Congressman Kelly about the Campaign Legal Center’s complaint. His office told KDKA that it has not yet seen the complaint and offered no further comment.