WASHINGTON - May 16 - Earlier today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging that two former staffers for Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) violated several provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). CREW also sent a copy of the complaint to the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania for possible investigation.
In late April, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that John Dick and Joseph Kuklis, who handled business outreach in Santorum's Pittsburgh office, left the Senator to open up their own lobbying shop, GSP Consulting Corp. (GSP), in the same building where Sen. Santorum maintains his Pittsburgh office. GSP started a political action committee (PAC) and landed $35 million in appropriations by acting as middlemen between clients and the Pennsylvania congressional delegation.
GSP Consulting and the law firm of Houston Harbaugh formed a joint venture, Houston Harbaugh Legislative Services (HHLS). Both GSP and HHLS created PACs, but neither reported the affiliation in any FEC filing.
The alleged violations include:
-- Dick contributed $14,000 and Kuklis contributed $11,800 to GSP-PAC in violation of the FECA, which limits PAC contributions to $5,000.
-- GSP-PAC may have violated the FECA by soliciting a contribution from someone not employed by or a family member of someone employed by GSP.
-- HHLS-PAC may have violated the FECA by soliciting contributions from Dick and Kuklis, who were not employed by or family members of anyone employed by HHLS.
-- In The Philadelphia Inquirer, Dick was quoted as saying that he tells his clients to contribute money to federal candidates. Using corporate resources to facilitate contributions to candidates violates the FECA.
Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW, said "Lobbyists need to learn that following campaign finance law is not optional. Dick and Kuklis blatantly and repeatedly violated the law and should be subjected to the appropriate sanctions. We look forward to the FEC's prompt investigation of this matter."