PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Small Business Administration reported that a car dealership owned by U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, a Butler Republican, received hundreds of thousands of dollars in pandemic relief.
Kelly is not alone. At least five members of Congress in both political parties may have benefited from the Payroll Protection Program.
That brought a strong denunciation from Kelly’s Democratic opponent, Kristy Gnibus.
Rep. Kelly says he did nothing wrong.
“I have made no decisions in this business since 2011,” Rep. Kelly told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Tuesday.
Kelly still owns Kelly Automotive in Butler, but he says his son Brendan makes all the decisions, like applying to PNC Bank for a minimum $600,000 PPP loan under the CARES Act.
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“So who gets the money? It goes to the business, and the business uses it for payroll,” said the congressman.
Money, says Kelly, to pay over 200 Kelly Automotive employees when Governor Tom Wolf shut down auto dealerships as non-essential.
“It shows what we’ve known all along about Congressman Kelly, that he looks to benefit himself and not the people of this district,” says Gnibus, an Erie teacher.
Gnibus questions why Kelly’s company got money before other small businesses in need.
“We have these struggling mom-and-pop businesses, which I would like to think are the backbone of this district and the backbone of this country, that deserve to have the help of the PPP before Congressman Kelly’s dealership,” says Gnibus.
Delano: Do you think you got special treatment for Kelly Automotive because you’re a member of Congress from PNC?
Kelly: No, absolutely not, absolutely not. I think there’s more of a problem when you’re a member of Congress because right away people say, ah-ha, we’ve got to look into this a little deeper.