Watchdog Calls on Susan B. Anthony List to Remove Pittsburgh Businessman Robert Kania from Board of Directors
Campaign Finance Complaint & Class Action Lawsuit Indicate Mr. Kania is Unfit to Serve
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 17, 2019
Contact: Bryan Dewan, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.780.5750
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Campaign for Accountability (CfA), a nonprofit watchdog group focused on public accountability, sent a letter to the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List), an anti-abortion advocacy organization, calling for the removal of businessman Robert J. Kania, Jr. from his position as treasurer of SBA List and its affiliated entities: the Susan B. Anthony List, Inc. Candidate Fund and the Women Speak Out PAC. Mr. Kania was recently removed from his position on the board of the Port Authority of Allegheny County after admitting that he failed to follow Pennsylvania campaign finance disclosure laws. Additionally, in a recently-settled class action lawsuit, it appears that Mr. Kania’s IT firm violated federal consumer protection laws on SBA List’s behalf.
CfA Counsel Alice Huling said, “Robert Kania ran a secret political operation in Pennsylvania and failed to disclose the campaign to state officials, as required by law. Additionally, Mr. Kania’s IT firm spammed more than 200,000 people with robotexts during Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing, also in apparent violation of the law. If Mr. Kania can’t be trusted follow the law, then he shouldn’t be trusted to manage the finances of a national advocacy organization. SBA List should immediately remove Mr. Kania from his role as treasurer.”
On April 8, 2019, CfA filed a complaint with the Board of Elections and the District Attorney’s Office in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania seeking an investigation into whether Mr. Kania and his associate Gary Britcher violated Pennsylvania’s Campaign Finance Reporting Law in connection with their political committee, Americans Against Socialism. Mr. Kania and Mr. Britcher had established the committee to oppose a candidate for a seat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
Following CfA’s complaint, on April 11, 2019, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf removed Mr. Kania from his position as a board member of the Port Authority of Allegheny County. Later that day, Mr. Kania registered Americans Against Socialism with the Pennsylvania Secretary of State as an independent expenditure committee, and, in effect, admitted he had failed to follow Pennsylvania’s campaign finance disclosure laws.
In addition to his apparent violation of campaign finance laws, Mr. Kania’s IT firm, acting as a vendor for SBA List, appears to have violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by sending mass robotexts during the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in the summer of 2018. A recently-settled class action lawsuit in Florida approved an agreement that requires SBA List to establish a $1 million fund for those illegally spammed through the conduct of Mr. Kania’s firm. Beyond the cost of the settlement, the lawsuit indicates Mr. Kania’s firm violated the TCPA and is subject to additional enforcement by the Federal Communications Commission. The SBA List reported total revenue of $8 million on its tax forms in the most recent year available.
Ms. Huling continued, “Mr. Kania’s illegal actions cost SBA List’s donors more than $1 million, or more than 10 percent of the organization’s entire budget. Mr. Kania has proved repeatedly that he is unfit to oversee the finances of a national advocacy group like SBA List, which has several entities with a variety of tax statuses. SBA List should immediately remove Mr. Kania from his role as treasurer before Mr. Kania entangles SBA List in any more of his unlawful and deceptive schemes.”
Campaign for Accountability is a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.