Last updated: February 20. 2013 3:32AM - 878 Views

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Former U.S. Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski's campaign committee disbursed more than $100,000 over the past decade to a real estate company in which he has an ownership stake.

According to Federal Election Commission records, Pennsylvanians for Kanjorski disbursed $134,693 since he left office, with tens of thousands of it being paid to K&K Real Estate, a holding company owned by Kanjorski and his brother Peter, who died Nov. 15 at the age of 77.

The final payment of $342 was made Dec. 13 to K&K Real Estate for rent.

The FEC approved the request by Pennsylvanians for Kanjorski to terminate its committee on Dec. 20, meaning it can no longer raise campaign money.

That approval signals that no investigations were pending. If there were any reviews for wrongdoing, the termination request would not have been approved, according to FEC regulations.

Rent, storage payments

From January 2011 through July 2012, K&K was receiving $3,000 a month from the campaign account – $1,000 of it for rent and $2,000 of it for records storage for a property the company owns at 126 S. Franklin St., Wilkes-Barre.

On that site is a building where Kanjorski's campaign and congressional records are being stored and where Kanjorski now operates a private consulting company called Kanjorski & Associates LLC.

In August 2012, the total dipped to just the $1,000 for rent. There were no payments to the company in October or November.

Besides the rent and storage disbursements, the primary expenditures over the past two years went to Bria Battisa, a Moosic resident who Kanjorski previously said has been archiving his congressional papers and doing other computer-related work.

She was being paid on an almost-weekly basis and received her final $170 paycheck on Sept. 26.

At the time Kanjorski left office in 2010, after 26 years in the U.S. House and after a defeat at the hands of Republican Lou Barletta, Pennsylvanians for Kanjorski had $133,840 remaining in its account.

The committee entered July 2012 with just $11,281 cash on hand. And was out of money as of Dec. 13.

The only other expenditures paid out the second half of 2012 were for payroll taxes and $61 for flowers purchased from Floristry By Carmen Bolin Ltd. on Aug. 10.

Prior to that, there were numerous entries on the expense report for, among other things, payments to Verizon Wireless, Staples, Home Depot and the postal service and $762 was paid to Kanjorski for mileage reimbursement.

Efforts to reach Kanjorski were unsuccessful this week.

There was one contribution made to the campaign committee, coming from Citizens for Action in the amount of $297.24 on July 2, 2012.

That committee, a political action committee founded by Kanjorski, spent its last dollars, too, this past year.

Its FEC filing shows $49,065 was paid out in 2011-12. All of the money spent in 2012 went to Kanjorski's nephew Peter A. Kanjorski, who received a $2,000 per month consulting fee and $600 per month to K&K Real Estate for rent for the same Franklin Street building Kanjorski's campaign was also paying rent and storage fees for.

The cellphone for the former congressman's nephew was disconnected and efforts to reach him were unsuccessful.

Typically, political action committees are formed to support candidates who share platforms or ideals of the platforms. The PACs accept funds from donors and disburse them to candidates with shared values.

But in the case of Citizens for Action, there were only four such disbursements made in 2011 or 2012:

• $2,500 to the Bob Casey for Senate committee.

•$1,000 to the Committee to Elect Tom Leighton.

• $500 to the Friends of Joe Wechsler.

• $297 allocation made to Kanjorski's campaign committee.

Of the $53,065 spent over the past two years, 8 percent was sent to another campaign. Every other dollar spent went to one of four recipients: Peter A. Kanjorski ($33,500), K&K Real Estate ($11,400), Verizon ($826) and NGP Software ($500).

Kanjorski's PAC donors

Most of the money that poured in to Citizens for Action over the past few years came from industries that Kanjorski interacted with in his position as chairman of the House Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government-Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee.

Among the big donors in recent years are PACs representing banks and insurers including: MetLife, JP Morgan Chase, Axa Equitable, Travelers, Liberty Mutual, New York Life, Credit Suisse First Boston and The Hartford.

A spokeswoman for the FEC declined to comment on the record but offered advisory opinions and rules that govern the use of campaign accounts.

What Kanjorski's committee did with its funds are within the guidelines as long as he never declared he was not seeking re-election, which he did not.

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