Monday, July 25, 2016
Fed Ed Lends Fed'l Campaign $21,608 To Pay Lawyers
Allentown Mayor Edwin "Fed Ed" Pawlowski's latest federal campaign finance report, due July 15, is finally available for public inspection. You can see it here. It shows that he was aware of the federal freeze on his campaign bank accounts by April 15. He describes it on his report as an "involuntary forfeiture" of $29,371.93, made to The United States Attorney.
This seizure has forced him to dip into his own pocket. He has lent his campaign $12,000 as follows: $7,500 on 4/12; $3,000 on 4/14; $1,500 on 6/22. In addition he has advanced his campaign another $9,608.33, meaning that the total of debts and obligations owed by his committee is $21,608.33.
Why has he has he had to borrow money?
Lawyers, of course.
· $2,500 to Philly law firm Borum, Burke and DiDonato on 4/28.
· $2,783.33 to Allentown lawyer Maureen Coggins on 5/12 (She may be representing Lisa Pawlowski).
· $4,325 to DC law firm Oldaker Group, which was hired as a result of compliance issues with his campaign finance reports.
He's got just $1,589.39 left in what at one time was a $427,000 war chest.
According to another Philly lawyer, Jack McMahon, Fed Ed had no idea whatever that his bank accounts had been frozen until a check bounced. It's pretty clear that he knew in April, when he started borrowing money. McMahon waited until July 11 to file a "Motion to Release Frozen Assets."
The $4,325 payment to Oldaker group, which was hired to insure FEC compliance, is undoubtedly permissible. But the other legal fees are likely improper.
Is the expense one that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s campaign or duties as a federal officeholder? If the answer is Yes, it is a personal expense. Fed Ed is not a federal office holder. The expense would exist regardless of his campaign because the expense is related to a pay-to-play investigation, not his campaign. This is a personal expense, and will likely be disallowed by the FEC.