U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright

Cher

Most people don’t know this, but U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright has what’s known as a leadership political action committee.

Leadership PACs allow members of Congress to raise money from their donors to give to candidates or causes they like without using money they collected for their own campaign committees.

Cartwright, a Moosic Democrat, named the committee named that works to re-elect him Cartwright for Congress. He called his leadership PAC Making Americans Count, or MAC PAC. He started it in 2013, not long after his first election to Congress. He’s running for a fourth term against Republican John Chrin in the Nov. 6 election.

Many members of Congress have separate leadership PACs because they want to help other candidates but don’t want to risk upsetting donors, who gave to support the member but not necessarily others. The PACs can also amplify giving. More on that another time.

Now, as for money MAC PAC handed out, let’s go to Federal Election Commission records.

The biggest donor is kind of a surprise. Each year since 2015, the Comcast Corp. & NBCUniversal PAC has donated $5,000, or $20,000 overall.

Plus, David Cohen, Comcast’s senior executive vice president, donated another $2,500 in 2015.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers PAC also donated $20,000, $5,000 each year from 2014-2017. No surprise there, unions love Cartwright.

The Sheet Metal Workers International Association Political Action League gave $5,000 in 2016 and 2018 for a total of $10,000.

The American Association for Justice PAC, which represents trial lawyers (Cartwright was one), gave $10,000, $5,000 in 2016 and 2018.

Donating $5,000 were Cartwright for Congress, the International Union of Operating Engineers Political Education Committee, Thomas Fortune Fay (he’s a Silver Spring, Maryland, lawyer), Murat Guzel (chief executive offcer of Smart Juices LLC), the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental & Reinforcing Iron Workers PAC, Scott Linde (owner of Linde Enterprises), Lofgren for Congress (California U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren’s candidate PAC), Mainstream PAC (Lofgren’s leadership PAC) and (another surprise) the Boeing Company PAC.

The National Air Traffic Controllers PAC gave $3,000 as did the Philadelphia law firm, Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman. Four partners in the firm, Arnold Levin ($1,230), Michael Fishbein ($720), Howard Sedran ($600) and Lawrence Berman ($450) gave a total of $3,000 more.

The League of Conservation Voters Action Fund and DRIVE (Democrat, Republican, Independent Voter Education) each gave $1,000.

As for who got money from Cartwright’s leadership PAC, well, start with the biggest recipient, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey’s campaign committee, Bob Casey for Senate Inc., which received $10,000 last year.

Coming in second, Cartwright for Congress, $8,100, over 2016 and 2017.

MAC PAC gave $5,872 to Jonathan Chane, an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for the House in Florida’s 18th Congressional District in 2016.

The state Democratic Party got $5,000 in August.

In 2015, MAC PAC gave $5,000 to the Sustainable Energy and Environmental Coalition PAC, which is what it sounds like.

MAC PAC also gave amounts ranging from $1,000 to $2,700 to a dozen Democratic candidates for the House and to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign ($1,000).

The $2,700 recipient was Raul Ruiz, a Democrat who represents a California congressional district and won his seat by defeating Republican Rep. Mary Bono Mack in 2012.

Anybody as old as I might remember Mack used to have a famous husband, Sonny Bono, whose earlier wife was Cher.

Mary replaced Sonny in Congress after he died in a skiing accident in January 1998.

OK, you’ve read this far so here’s the Scranton connection.

In a November 2000 People Magazine article, Cher said she wrote the song, “Cher, Nuns & Trouble,” about her unfortunate stay at an orphanage in Scranton when she was growing up. 

— BORYS KRAWCZENIUK