Update: Tightening Campaign Ethics Laws in Philadelphia

By: Caroline Johnston, Contributing Writer

Updated: Councilman Bill Green brought to light his support of the newly proposed regulation that will close the campaign finance loophole concerning campaign PAC contributions.  The loophole allowed one PAC to exceed the $10,600 limit by funding other PACs to support the same candidate. Councilman Green previously received funding from a total of four PACs, three of the four from the same donor, amounting to around $40,000.

Green is in support of closing the loophole; however, not the time limitation that was proposed by City Council in April. Council proposed a restriction that limited one PAC from receiving more than 50% of their contribution amount from another PAC, 12 months before making their contribution.  The proposed restriction was considered by City Council, but handed over to the Board of Ethics.

The Philadelphia Board of Ethics was given the responsibility to close the campaign donation loophole that city officials have been utilizing to gain funding from multiple Political Action Committees (PACs).

To reduce the influence of large political contributions, Philadelphia has limited campaign donations from PACs to $10,600 since 2010.

The campaign donation loophole was first addressed by City Council in April, but was handed over to the Board of Ethics since the Board of Ethics enforces the City’s Public Integrity Laws. Under the regulation’s first draft, City Council was aware of the possibility of one PAC funding multiple PACs.

The unanimous approval of the new provision has made it’s way to the Philadelphia Law Department, and if given public approval after ten days, the restriction will be placed in affect by August.

This added regulation will close off a loophole that is utilized by PAC donors to help improve the likelihood of electing a specific candidate.  The clarity of this added restriction will give City Council and the Philadelphia Board of Ethics the comfort in knowing that their previous concerns will be relieved.

There are just a few steps left before the Philadelphia campaign ethics laws are tightened, that is, as long as City Councilmen are not able to prove this restriction to be a violation of the law. We can look to August and future elections to see if this restriction holds, and what it’s cost is on City officials election funds.

2 Responses

  1. How Can Mike Veon and Brett Cott be in jail when a State Trooper on State Time using State Equipment and order by the Governor to go to Court and transport a Private Citizen who happens to be the wife of one of his Secretaries that was arrested for DUI?

    Where is the media on this violation, where is the double phones the Governor wears, and making State Troopers do Double Duty on State Time for the benefit of a Private Citizen that broke the Law??

    This is exactly what Attorney General Corbett investigated and declared illegal, but he breaks the same laws he claims he investigated and enforced???

    This action alone using State Police to pick up a Private Citizen Shows favorable treatment that average Citizens are refused and clearly provides bias and special treatment before the Courts and Laws of the Commonwealth does it not???

    Will someone provide us with an example whereby State Police on State Time pick up DUI Charged Defendants at a Court Of law and drive them home????

    Someone needs to file a complaint with Dauphin County District Attorney that he must investigate if filed and ask why not if he refuses?????

    Someone must file a Complaint to the Attorney General calling for an Investigation of Governor Tom Corbett??????

    It is clear Tom Corbett has broken the same laws he accused others of breaking and yet no Newspaper or Investigator has followed this violation of Habay Case???????

    When did the Pennsylvania State Police become Private Chauffeurs on state money using state resources and equipment on state pay, for Governor’s special people????????

  2. The “reporting” above is horrible. I voted for the legislation. I am for the regulation except for the strict liability 50% restriction (poorly described above). That restriction was considered by council and not passed. A regulatory body is trying to make law and not interpret it, that is the substance of my problem with one portion of the regulation.

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