Thursday, February 09, 2012

Chaka Fattah's 2011 FEC Reports

Sometime next week the quarterly FEC report roundup should be done but in the meantime let’s take another quick look at Philadelphia. As always, let me state that I am neither a lawyer or an accountant.  These are just my observations and I encourage those interested to review the reports themselves at  I apologize in advance for any errors or misconceptions.

This is a short summary of the 2010 FEC reports for Congressman Chaka Fattah’s campaign.  Fattah has a safe seat (PA-02) so he doesn’t really need to raise the kind of money that candidates in more competitive districts do.  That shows.

His beginning cash on hand in the post general (2010) report, likely to be the low point of the election cycle, was $11,536.45.  At the end of 2011 he had $120,714.57.  Of the money raised over the year only $3,635 came from unitemized contributions.  That means he has remarkably few small donations, too small to meet the threshold requiring the campaign to report the donor’s name, occupation, address, etc.  Overall he received more money from PACs (about $186,000) than itemized donors (about $135,000).  Also unusual, he spent less on operational expenditures than he did on other expenses.  It’s almost twice as much on “other” than operating expenditures.  What is “other?”  Well, quite a bit goes to other political campaigns, donations to Philadelphia candidates like Curtis Jones and Blondell Reynolds Brown, and about a third of the “other” went to the Fattah for Mayor campaign debt.  He gave $40,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.   The campaign makes car payments, buys a lot of gas, and paid for Sirius radio.  It must be an expensive car; the payments are almost $800 a month.  The campaign also paid for some train tickets. There are payments to Paychex but I don’t see payments for salaried employees so maybe he pays consultants and the like through Paychex.   Fattah likes to travel – there are payments for plane tickets and it looks like he travels with staff sometimes; for some trips more than one ticket is purchased.

A couple of interesting notes from the donations.  In one quarter there were 12 itemized donations and 10 were from Comcast employees.  Nothing wrong with that but the optics in that one report are not perhaps the best.  Fattah also received a lot of money in one report from people in the space industry.  Looking at his committee assignments he is on the Appropriations Committee and one of his subcommittees deals with space.   In addition to the individual donations from Comcast employees he received a total of $10K from the Comcast PAC, notable amounts from the National Weather Service Employees Organization, and a teachers union.

In short, nothing really remarkable, but it's always interesting to look through these things.

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