An ethical slip for Philly DA’s spokesman

    The spokesman for Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams has resigned his board membership in a Democratic LGBT group following a complaint from a city Republican official about his political activity.

    Cameron Kline will meet with staff from the Philadelphia Ethics Board on Monday about the matter, according to Ed McCann, first assistant district attorney.

    Until today, Kline was on the board of the Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club. On Wednesday, he issued a statement on behalf of the group attacking Republican mayoral candidate Melissa Murray Bailey for accepting a campaign contribution from a man whose Facebook posts Liberty City regards as homophobic.

    The problem is that as communications director for Williams, Kline is barred by the City Charter from being an officer of a partisan political club.

    City Republican Party executive director Joe DeFelice, who took sharp exception to the substance of the attack, issued a release accusing Kline of violating the charter.

    Just looking at the plain language of the charter, it seems he had a point:

    “No appointed officer or employee of the City shall be a member of any national, state or local committee of a political party, or an officer or member of a committee of a partisan political club, or take any part in the management or affairs of any political party or in any political campaign, except to exercise his right as a citizen privately to express his opinion and to cast his vote.

    When I asked DeFelice if he was filing a complaint with the Ethics Board, which enforces the restrictions on political activity, he said he had no plans to.

    “I’m not necessarily trying to get getting anyone in trouble here, but we wanted to at least call him on the carpet for it,” he said.

    Judging from the reaction, the DA’s office decided DeFelice was right. Kline resigned his board membership and will confer with the Ethics Board next week.

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