Our friends at the Center for Responsive Politics have asked for help identifying “mystery PACs” — political action committees that are probably tied to an individual member. Members of Congress form leadership PACs to raise money for other candidates, mostly, enhancing their status within the caucus. There’s no requirement for a member to disclose a leadership PAC, or for th PAC to admit a connection to the leader.
I started with the Penguin PAC because I like Penguins. The first thing I did was to look at the original filings at the Federal Election Commission Web site (each CRP PAC page offers you a link to the PAC’s filings at the FEC). I checked the statement of organization (it’s the next to last form available on the page), and on page one I came across the name “Michael J. Fraioli” (he’s the PAC’s treasurer). I googled the name and the top result led me to this page — and the name of his firm, Fraioli and Associates. They have a page listing their clients, including the PACs — the Penguin PAC is there, with Rep. Tim Ryan listed as the honorary chair. While I note that, for example, David Obey is listed as the honorary chair of the Committee for a Progressive Congress PAC, and CRP identifies that PAC as his leadership PAC, I’m going to email the folks at Fraioli & Associates to see if they’ll confirm that the Penguin PAC belongs to Ryan.