Two mayoral candidates who’ve benefited most from super-PAC money said Friday that they support a push to shine more light on where that cash is actually coming from.
On Thursday, City Council President Darrell Clarke introduced a bill designed to more frequently expose the sources of money given to independent groups (not directly to campaigns) that have already resulted in a glut of television ads for mayoral candidates Jim Kenney and Anthony Hardy Williams.
“We think that if a person is interested in a candidate, they should disclose their support,” said Clarke of the proposal to require earlier disclosure of the people funding independent advertising in city races.
For more on the bill, check out this story from WHYY’s Tom MacDonald.
On Friday afternoon, both Kenney (for whom Building a Better Pa. and Forward Philadelphia have financed ads) and Williams (beneficiary of a similar helping hand from American Cities) issued statements supporting the push.
While not exactly signing for Lynne Abraham’s call to reject money from independent expenditure groups, both the Kenney and Williams campaigns noted that they sought something similar to the bill in their ethics policy papers.
Here’s an excerpt from the Williams statement:
I wholeheartedly support Council President Clarke’s bill to fully disclose expenditures by independent groups.
As Mayor, I would advocate for legislation to require individuals, nonprofits, corporations, unions or any other sources of independent expenditures to influence a city election to disclose their donors to the Philadelphia Board of Ethics and make it publicly available.
Voters have the right to raise questions about financing of candidates in this campaign. If people are concerned that three education philanthropists, who are completely transparent about their interests, support my candidacy, how much more concerned should we be with John Dougherty’s support of Mr. Kenney?
And, here’s an excerpt from Kenney’s, which includes “Kenney’s Record on Campaign Finance” and “Kenney 2015 Campaign Finance Proposals” sections:
In the early 2000s, I worked with then-Councilman Nutter to establish the Board of Ethics and other legislation that would keep special interests from buying municipal elections.
However, it’s clear that the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling has allowed a few wealthy outsiders to have the loudest voice in Philadelphia’s election.
I support Council President Clarke’s bill and, as mayor, I will fight to eliminate the influence of money in campaigning and governance.