A city official who was elected on a platform of ethical transparency and accountability has dimed herself out for campaign fund-raising violations.
After revealing her infractions to the City of Philadelphia Board of Ethics, City Commissioner Stephanie Singer has agreed to pay $5,000 in fines.”They were not purposeful, and as soon as I found out about them, I took responsibility to make them right,” Singer said. “Singer’s campaign ran afoul of taking five donations higher than the $2,600 limit.In one case she asked a married couple (her brother and sister-in-law) for double that amount — which is legal — but the check for the total came from an account with only one name on it. In another instance, her father donated the full amount, but—after later being told by her campaign that he had only donated $500 — donated another $2,100, far exceeding the limit.Singer, who says these types of infractions are common, says candidates — especially first-timers like her– would be given more guidance for how to avoid such ethical slip-ups.Shane Creamer, director of the ethics board, said that since his organization began in 2007 to enforce the city’s campaign-finance law, there has been an ethical sea-change in politics. Creamer said Singer’s action can be seen as a part of this change.“In the past five years, we’ve seen a change in the dynamics,” said Creamer. “There’s been dramatic change in the culture and the climate … everyone has become more aware of the rules — what they are — and have made, in general, greater efforts to comply.”This culture will next be tested in 2013 as candidates line up for city positions including city controller and district attorney.