Within two weeks of Rep. Sander Levin's (D-Mich.), ascension to the chairmanship of the House Ways and Committee last month, the political action committees of CUNA and NAFCU each donated $1,000 to his campaign.
Levin, who succeeded embattled Chairman Charles Rangel who is being investigated for financial irregularities, oversees the panel that has jurisdiction over whether credit unions keep their tax exempt status. He is a long-time friend of credit unions and had received $3,500 from CUNA's PAC earlier in the campaign cycle and received $1,000 from NAFCU's PAC in the 2008 cycle.
The contributions to Levin, who is not expected to have a difficult re-election race in November, was one of two overlaps in the donations of the two PACs last month, according to reports released this week by the Federal Election Commission. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the top Republican of the Senate Finance Committee, that chamber's counterpart to the Ways and Means Committee, received $2,500 from CUNA's PAC (bringing the total to $4,000 this cycle) and $1,500 from NAFCU's PAC.
CUNA's PAC, the Credit Union Legislative Action Council, raised $162,287 last month, contributed $142,000 to federal candidates and committees, and had $1,021,578 in its account at the end of the month.
NAFCU's PAC, the National Association of Federal Credit Unions Political Action Committee, raised $2,801 last month, contributed $29,375 to federal candidates and committees and had $238,962 in its account at the end of the month.
FEC reports also showed that Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.), one of the strongest supporters of credit unions in Congress, has a substantial financial advantage over both his primary and general election opponents.
Kanjorski had $1.1 million in his campaign account at the end of March. Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O'Brien, who is challenging him in the May 18 primary, had $46.794 in his account. Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta, who has tried two other times to defeat Kanjorski in the general election, had $202,427 in his campaign account.