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Philly Commissioner’s Office: Committee of 70 Crossed the Line

By Jamie Brackman, Contributing Writer

According to Tim Dowling, an official of the Philadelphia Commissioner’s office, The Committee of 70, the non-profit watchdog group in Philly will have to reform as a Political Committee after participating in a legal battle between two council candidates.

It’s the latest in a chapter of contentious relations between the Commission and the watchdog group.

The City Commissioners are elected every four years by the citizens of the City and County of Philadelphia and are responsible for voter registration and conducting elections, According to the city of Philadelphia’s department of records.

This occasionally puts the Commission directly at odds with watchdog organizations like the Committee of 70 – highlighted in this article from Philly Clout.

According to CBS Philly, one member of the committee, Zack Stalberg responded “We are not a political committee. We are a non-partisan good government group, and having been filing briefs like this for many, many years.”

The Committee has long been a part of the Philadelphia political scene, and it seems unlikely that they would be forced to reorganize as a political committee, despite pressure from the commissioner’s office.

The case in question regards a brief from the Committee of 70 which supported lawsuits attempting to remove Councilman Frank Rizzo, Councilwoman Marian Tasco and City Commissioner Marge Tartaglione from the ballot in the coming elections.

In keeping with Stalberg, the committee’s website states “We are fiercely non-partisan and never endorse candidates. Whether we are working quietly behind the scenes or making noise, Seventy fights for better government, fair elections and an honest political culture.”  It also includes a list of the City Commissioners Office meetings.

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