Some of the folks in NEPA may remember in the Congressional campaign of 2010, Brian Kelly came up with an easy solution to the squabbles that Paul Kanjorski and Corey O'Brien were having over campaign financing. The two were fighting about who was the better fundraiser, and which of these two long-term politicians was the most ethical in squeezing those dependent on them for a livelihood?
The incumbent and the other challenger are shown below:
In the Primary for the 111th Congressional district, Brian Kelly won the lottery for the # 1 name on the ballot and the # 2 man was Corey O'Brien, a Lackawanna County Commissioner, who ran for Commissioner again in 2011, followed by Paul Kanjorski. Since Kelly took no contributions and spent just $4500 of his own money on his campaign, he felt that the field would be almost level if these two politicos decided that they should give the money back.
Instead of taking Kelly's suggesiton, they continued to blast their ads all over the place as both of their budgets were almost limitless. So, O'Brien and Kanjo, as he liked to be called, continued to amass a long list of contributors who hoped they would be able to call on both of these two dignataries in the future for special favors that are not available to the average Joe. Isn't that exactly what we are trying to stop?
During the campaign, Brian got a lot of traction for his camapign on blogs, facebook, the Newspaper press, and a bit on radio. It was all free. It could not compare nor compete with the media buys of the other two candidates. Kelly believed that through the freebies, most people had gotten to know him and that his mantra was "for the people." His public statement to the Kanjo and O'Brien campaigns is included below in it's entirety:
"The idea of campaign contributions is a foreign idea to my campaign as I am not accepting any cash or in-kind contributions from anybody. One could readily conclude that both Congressman Kanjorski and Commissioner O'Brien are both receiving more contributions to their campaigns from dependent business sources than they should. The Congressman, however has been doing this for years, and because this is a national office and his campaign sins, if any, occurred while in the office he seeks again, it seems to me that his alleged sins are more egregious than the few favors Corey O'Brien may have called in.
Paul Kanjorski is a powerful person in Congress. He is senior member of the Financial Services Committee. He is also the Chairman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises. This committee has jurisdiction over securities, exchanges, and insurance matters. In other words, through these two committees, Mr. Kanjorski has a lot of power over Wall Street. Have there been any problems with Wall St. and the financial markets recently? Wall Street likes Paul Kanjorski and if you or I were them, we too would be donating to the Kanjorski campaign. Mr. Kanjorski is also a ranking member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. How's that going?
The people of Northeastern PA know that Congressman Paul Kanjorski was instrumental in the multiple bailouts, the porkulus bill, Obabacare, the excessive spending, the deficits and the debt. These are all job-killers. What about Jobs? Corey O'Brien had nothing to do with any of that. From the one time I met Mr. O'Brien, he seems like an OK guy. He is very young. It was on Paul Kanjorski's watch that the financial industries collapsed and many people in Northeastern PA lost huge chunks of their retirement funds. Paul Kanjorski reportedly has taken a lot of contributions from Wall Street even though his committee regulates Wall Street behavior. One must ask what Wall Street expects from Paul Kanjorski?
I would recommend that both campaigns stop spending and return the remainder of their war chests to wherever they got the money. Then, all three of us can get in front of the people of Northeastern PA on Public TV, no charge, and let's talk about ourselves to the people so they know something about each of us. That sounds fair to me."
end of original note
Unfortunately, the incumbent Congressman in the district controls what Public TV does or does not do since he controls the grants they receive. Consequently, Brian Kelly did not get a chance to debate the Congressman, though he agreed to debate. Kelly was not afforded the opportunity to debate because after the incumbent tentatively agreed, feeling quite confident in having two Democrats splitting the anti-Kanjo vote, he backed out, apparently feeling that he did not have to get all ruffled up in the Spring for such a face-off.
Perhaps he should have debated for the experience because his performance in the Barletta debate in the fall was less than exemplary and he lost in the General Election. .
Not only did Kelly not get a chance to debate, WVIA< the Public TV channel, a publicly funded entity of the federal government, felt they owed the Congressman the favor of not putting Mr. O'Brien or Mr. Kelly on TV even if it would help the people. So, there was no opportunity for even a short speech or a station directed inquiry panel as to what each candidate was all about. One would think if life were fair, WVIA TV would have insisted on all parties having a say for the public good. Instead, they bet that Kanjo would be reelected and they would be refunded and rewarded for serving Kanjo instead of serving the public --- as a Public TV Station.
O'Brien had the same problem with Public TV but he also had a warchest to help his message get across.
From this experience in 2010, which gained Mr. Kelly 17% of the vote in PA-11, because of the message carried for free on a few media outlets, if he chooses torun for the Senate, Brian Kelly knows he has no chance of gaining statewide recognition if he does not accept campaign contributions. So, he has limited each contribution to $100.00 and is happy to accept anything from those who see value in his candidacy. Kelly suggests that if you would like to contribute to the campaign, give no more than $10.00. We'll do the best we can. Thank you.
As an aside, Kelly recently learned that he and four other professors are about to be replaced at Marywood University. Kelly holds the rank of Assistant Professor at Marywood and has what Marywood considers a PhD Professional Equivalent to carry such rank. Right now, Marywood is his only job, and after seven years of excellent service his contract will not be renewed. From all appearances, kelly, who just wrote a book entitled, Americans Need Not Apply, is being replaced by a foreign national. It is entirely possible that right here in Northeastern PA, four American university professors are being replaced by foreign nationals. Kelly does not have access to Marywood's records but the rumblings coming from those at the istitution seem to confirm that conclusion.
Brian Kelly has an excellent sense of humor. Just the other day, he talked about how he could relate to a number fo people who have come across difficult times in the great recession. Kelly actually finds humor in suggesting that he may be the first person ever elected to the Senate who was collecting unemployment compensation.