SCRANTON — A clerical error by a staff member working on the Cartwright for Congress campaign resulted in a federal judge being listed as a donor on third quarter financial reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Some reading the campaign finance report would come across a $250 donation made by Richard P. Conaboy, who is listed on the report as being a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Conaboy is indeed a senior judge in Scranton, but he did not make the contribution.
Instead, according to Cartwright for Congress campaign spokesman Shane Seaver, it was the judge’s son of the same name who made the donation on Sept. 30. Seaver provided a copy of the check to The Times Leader showing a South Webster Avenue, Scranton, address that is registered to the judge’s son.
The judge lives on Prospect Street in Scranton.
Seaver said the campaign uses a database of district residents to help compile its donation report, and a staffer inadvertently entered the information of the wrong Richard P. Conaboy in Scranton.
An amended version of the report will be filed with the FEC by week’s end, Seaver said.
He said that in addition to correcting Conaboy’s address and profession, the report will also show more cash on hand than was reflected in the report filed Oct. 15.
Instead of $353,748 in the bank as of Oct. 1, Seaver said the campaign actually had $390,000. He said some debts paid off in previous quarters were duplicated in the report showing more money being spent than really was.
He noted payments to David Browne Media, The Mellinger Group LLC and Bridge Communications Inc. as being listed incorrectly.
Had Conaboy, or any federal judge, donated to a congressional campaign, it would have been a clear violation of the Judicial Code of Conduct. The Times Leader noticed the donation and contacted the campaign, which investigated and found it had erred.
Richard P. Conaboy II, a senior judge in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, was appointed to the federal bench by President Jimmy Carter in 1979. Conaboy, 88, of Scranton, served as the court’s chief judge from 1989-92 before he became a senior judge in 1992.
A search of the FEC database for all other judges in the Middle District of Pennsylvania shows that one, Matthew W. Brann, who was just appointed to the bench this year, donated to campaigns and political action committees prior to his nomination.