On Friday, mayoral candidates Jim Kenney and Anthony Hardy Williams told NinetyNine that they support a City Council bill designed to more frequently expose sources of money given to independent groups (not directly to campaigns) that have already resulted in a glut of television ads.
On Sunday, candidate Lynne Abraham said the pair’s words weren’t good enough, hearkening back to her March push for them to sign her “people’s pledge” to reject super-PAC money, something that both have declined to do.
“Now that Jim Kenney and Anthony Williams claim they have finally joined me in opposing the undue influence of dark money in this campaign, I’m calling on them to put their dark money where their mouths are and demand, in no uncertain terms, their allies take down their special interest fueled ads,” reads a statement released from the Abraham campaign on Sunday.
“They had the opportunity to reject dark money when I asked them to sign my ‘People’s Pledge,’ and both declined,” it continued. “Giving lip service to an issue is easy; it’s actions that define leadership. Philadelphia deserves real leadership, not an absurd ploy to support popular opinion after the fact.”
When asked for reaction on Sunday, Kenney spokeswoman Lauren Hitt echoed what the candidate previously told NinetyNine.
“If Lynne is serious about reducing the impact of dark money on the race, then she needs to shed light on her own tax returns,” Hitt said. “She has made a significant contribution to her own campaign and then refused to disclose tax returns that would show where that money is coming from.”
Barbara Grant from the Williams campaign responded with a comment (see next graf) and link to the candidate’s ethics platform, noting that there are numerous issues therein that should get attention akin to Abraham’s call.
“Tony has consistently supported legislation to bring greater transparency to dark money, but we know exactly who’s financing Jim Kenney’s campaign: Johnny Doc and his political machine,” Grant said. “Just as important is a position we have taken which bans conflicts of interest such as outside employment (by elected officials and city employees) with businesses who have city contracts, such as former Councilman Kenney held with the Vitetta Group and Blue Cross.”