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PPP Loans Ignite Oppo Free-For-All

Millions of businesses received loans from the Paycheck Protection Program that was designed to help businesses pay workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. A pair of Pennsylvania Congressmen have family-affiliated businesses that received support from the program — and opponents have pounced. 

Reps. Matt Cartwright’s (D-Lackawanna) wife, Marion Munley, has a law firm that received between $350,000 and $1 million in funds from the PPP, according to Politico. Rep. Mike Kelly’s (R-Butler) family car dealerships received between $600,000 and $1.4 million from the PPP, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a GOP super PAC endorsed by House Republican leadership, have dubbed the Lackawanna County Democrat as “Crooked Cartwright” as they attack the PPP loan to his wife’s law firm, while the National Republican Congressional Committee say it’s an instance of self-dealing. 

Kristy Gnibus, the Democratic hopeful attempting to unseat Kelly in the 16th Congressional District, has criticized the incumbent by making the case that the “mom-and-pop businesses” in the district deserved the help before Kelly’s dealership. 

Both Cartwright and Kelly released statements saying that neither had any involvement in the loans provided to the family affiliated businesses, but both support the program overall. 

“Congressman Cartwright had no involvement with this loan in any way,” said Matt Slavoski, Press Secretary for Congressman Cartwright. “When it comes to PPP, the Congressman is encouraged that it has helped thousands of Pennsylvania small businesses of all kinds keep employees in their jobs. He recently supported bills to extend the program into August and promote transparency around where this relief funding is going.” 

“In accordance with Congressional ethics rules, Representative Kelly is not involved in the day to day operations of his auto dealerships and was not part of the discussions between the business and the PPP lender,” said Andrew Eisenberger, his Communications Director. “Moreover, Kelly’s small family business employs more than 200 western Pennsylvanians whose jobs were at risk because of Governor Wolf’s business shut down order. The Paycheck Protection Program was designed to sustain the income of workers who would otherwise have been without pay or employment at no fault of their own during the coronavirus pandemic, and organizations in which members of Congress have an ownership stake were not prohibited from receiving PPP loans to help their employees during this difficult time.”

The bill passed the House 417-to-1 and polling shows it is among the most popular pieces of congressional legislation. Regardless, the attacks won’t be the last facing Cartwright and Kelly.

CLF launched the website in March in an attempt to drive the narrative that he’s beholden to his family businesses interest. Cartwright’s campaign told PoliticsPA then that the effort from the CLF was a “cheap stunt” to smear the congressman and defended Cartwright’s backing of a bill that significantly increased the amount of insurance liability coverage required for truck drivers and companies. 

The Erie County and Pennsylvania Democratic parties have both criticized Kelly over his ties to the family car dealership for years, saying that it has impacted his vote on votes in the past. Kelly pointed out that he has not been involved in the day-to-day operation of the business since 2011 and added that the dealership has no sway over his voting record.

10 Responses

  1. These 2 are small potatoes. Bob Casey’s sister got $1-2 million while her printin company was deemed “essential” so it never closed. Most of their business is government related so the presses never stopped. This money is going straight into their pockets. But, as usual, good ole Bob gets a pass and the focus is on lesser officials.

  2. While I despise Kelly’s politics, his dealerships employ people. As long as he gets no dollars and keeps employees, I’m not that opposed to it. The other option is to not allow PPP funds to be awarded to any business connected to federal legislators. But what about the employees? Will their employer be forced to fold? Will they be laid off permanently? How about a Conflict of Interest disclosure/reclusion of review?

  3. The GOP Superfund will go to any lengths to discredit Democrat office holders. But this one is ludicrous since their own candidate against Rep. Cartwright saw his family business also receive PPP money to the tune of $350K+.

  4. Worth looking into both candidates in PA7: Lisa Scheller and her company Silberline and Susan Wild and her old law firm where she was a partner until recently Gross McGinley LLP

  5. Kelly is a piece of shit with ruthless outdated policies. Whether he is involved with daily operations in his dealerships is irrelevant. He’s the damn owner and is reaping the benefits of taxpayer money that he voted to spend this way, knowing he was going to benefit. In effect, Kelly voted himself money, BIGLY. Kelly is corrupt, a crook.

    1. Not even gonna mention Cartwright? Can you try and not be a partisan stooge just one time?

    2. Talk about a piece of shit….. seems to fit the bill for an someone who anonymously posts things on an internet website attacking others.

  6. Employees are First !! so any one who hire employees is subject to take care his/her employees and that is a Nobel job !!

  7. Trump is upsetting people big time by messing up the pandemic response. People see Florida and Arizona spiraling out of control covid wise. They are major freaked out and cable news is beating the covid19 drum loudly making the virus bigger news. This particular here story is not happening this cycle.

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