Campaign notes, and the fracking musical

    Tomorrow is primary day in Philadelphia, and high praise is due Alex Kaplan of Common Cause for keeping us up to date on late campaign contributions.

    Candidates’ last campaign finance report before the election covered contributions and expenses only through May 2nd. The law requires that any contributions of $500 or more after that be reported to the board of election within 24 hours, but unless reporters make the trip to examine the paper filings, those donations can slip under the radar.

    But a new Philadelphia Common Cause blog has the scoop. Of note among the late contributions:

    Friday, the campaign committee for Marian Tasco (who’s never publicly acknowledged she’s courting future members to become Council president ) gave $2,500 to 1st district candidate Mark Squilla, whom Mayor Nutter has endorsed.

    Mayor Nutter gave 2nd district Council candidate Kenyatta Johnson $10,600, the maximum permitted by law. He gave the same to Council at-large incumbent Bill Greenlee, who somehow didn’t make the list of Inquirer and Daily News Council endorsements.

    Also AFSCME District Council 33, the city blue collar workers union gave City Council at-large candidate Sherrie Cohen $10,600. Cohen’s father, the late Councilman David Cohen, was a champion of organized labor in Council.

    And on Saturday Germantown real estate developer Howard Treatman popped another $35,000 of his own cash into his campaign, already fueled with $200,000 of his money.

    It will be fascinating to see what this political newcomer with no major endorsements or traditional organizational support can do with this kind of effort.

    Treatman is in the seven-way Democratic primary for the 8th Council district, which has been ably covered by the Newsworks hyper-local team.

    One interesting nugget can be found in the middle of a Newsworks story by Kristen Mosbrucker about the Imam at a Germantown mosque. When Mosbrucker was interviewing Imam Suetwidien Muhammad, she reports that 8th district Council candidate Cindy Bass dropped by unannounced for a chat, accompanied by campaign volunteer Steve Vaughn.

    This is of note because of Vaughn’s history.

    He was on the staff of Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller when he was convicted of a corruption scheme involving a Chestnut Hill developer.

    A few weeks ago, candidate Robin Tasco said she was visited by Vaughn on behalf of Bass, and that Vaughn threatened her with legal action if she didn’t get out of the race. Vaughn admitted meeting with Tasco, but denied pressuring her to withdraw.

    Bass said she knew nothing of the meeting, and defended having Vaughn work on her campaign, saying she believes in second chances. You can read about Tasco’s allegation here.

    In her current piece, Mosbrucker says Bass and Vaughn met privately with the Imam for about 20 minutes and no one would say what was discussed.

    Whatever the topic, it appears Vaughn is more than just an envelope-stuffer in the Bass campaign.

    Finally, our crackerjack Marcellus Shale drilling reporter Susan Phillips (or would that be fracker-jack?) alerted me to a music video explaining the risks of hydraulic fracturing, known as “fracking” in gas drilling. You can find it on the website of the investigative non-profit Pro Publica, or watch it below.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.