SHADOW OF A DOUBT: If IBEW Local 98 Is Going To Launder Campaign Contributions To Bill Green To Skirt Election Laws, They Really Should Try A Little Harder


DAVE DAVIES: The Berks County Board of Elections is investigating two $10,000 contributions that Reading Mayor Vaughn Spencer made to Philadelphia City Council candidates in 2011 — the day after Spencer received a $30,000 contribution from the political committee of the powerful electricians’ union in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia candidates who got the contributions, re-elected Democratic Councilman-at-large Bill Green and 10th District Democratic challenger Bill Rubin, had already received the maximum contribution permitted under the city’s campaign finance law from the political committee of Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, campaign finance records show. Christine Sadler, solicitor for the Berks County Board of Elections, said the board initiated an investigation of the contributions after receiving a citizen complaint. “Our focus is whether or not this complies with state election law,” Sadler said in a telephone interview. The state election code prohibits anyone from making a political contribution “with funds designated or given to him  for the purpose by any other person.” […] Zack Stalberg, president of the watchdog group Committee of Seventy said the facts are troubling, and he’s concerned about the integrity of the city’s laws on contribution limits. “So far these laws have done a good job in terms of cleaning up the pay-to-play atmosphere in Philadelphia,” Stalberg said, “but like all campaign finance laws, after a while people start finding their way around them. At least at face value, this seems like an example of that.” MORE

PREVIOUSLY: There I was looking over City Councilman Bill Green‘s campaign finance report for 2012, and it practically jumped off the page at me: a $25,000 contribution from bottling company owner Harold Honickman on Oct. 5. Add that to Honickman’s April donation of $5,000, and you get $30,000 in contributions in a single year — more than 10 times the $2,900 maximum individual campaign contribution allowed under the city’s campaign finance law.  MORE

PHAWKER: Councilman Green is an avowed enemy of Mayor Nutter’s twice-doomed soda tax. Obviously, so is Harold Honickman. When we asked him about this, Mr. Green was adamant that there was NO connection between the Honickman contribution and his opposition to the soda tax, and to suggest otherwise, he said in no uncertain terms, would be libelous.