GOP Targets CU Champion For Defeat

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WILKES-BARRE, Penn. – In the latest sign that congressional races have been taken out of the hands of local voters, the National Republican Congressional Committee reported over the weekend it spent more than $5 million attacking Democratic candidates in the prior week, including hundreds of thousands on negative ads urging the defeat of Pennsylvania Congressman Paul Kanjorski, a longtime champion of credit unions on Capitol Hill.

The latest attack ads by the GOP come a week after another Washington-based interest group, the National Association of REALTORs, reported it had spent almost $1 million supporting Kanjorski, who the latest polls show trailing his Republican opponent Lou Barletta.

The Republican group reported it has spent a staggering $12 million on negative ads in recent weeks attacking Democrats, separate from similar campaigns launched by the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and several large outside groups, including Crossroad GPS, which is headed by Karl Rove, campaign strategist for former President George W. Bush, and plans to spend as much as $75 million on behalf of Republican candidates this elections.

The GOP’s congressional committee reported it has spent $750,000 in negative ads targeting Kanjorski, one of several Democrat leaders in its sights.

In recent weeks Washington-based groups with interests before Kanjorski’s committee have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into his campaign to try to save the incumbent, including the Mortgage Bankers Association, Cigna insurance, Travelers insurance, the Financial Services Roundtable, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, H&R Block and CUNA Mutual Group, according to records filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Kanjorski, a 13-term House member and chairman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises, long has been a stalwart credit union supporter, starting with his sponsorship of HR 1151, the landmark 1998 CU Membership Access Act, and more recently his sponsorship of last year’s corporate credit union bailout bill.

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