Philly DA’s spending under federal investigation, newspaper reports [Updated]

 Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams (Nathaniel Hamilton/NewsWorks file photo)

Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams (Nathaniel Hamilton/NewsWorks file photo)

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams is under investigation by a federal grand jury looking into possible campaign finance violations.

Quoting anonymous sources, a report in Friday’s Inquirer said federal authorities are looking into whether Williams used campaign funds for personal expenses.

According to the article, the FBI and IRS are involved in the investigation.

The Friends of Seth Williams issued a statement late Friday saying Williams denies the allegations.

“His campaign finance records are a matter of public record, and he will cooperate with any authorities who may wish to review them,” the statement said.

The FBI’s J.J. Klaver said he could neither confirm nor deny the probe.

“A grand jury investigation is not public. Sealed court documents are not public. In this district, pretty much all search warrants are sealed,” Klaver said.

Federal prosecutors will not comment on an investigation until they know they have enough to charge someone and until those charges are filed. Sometimes, cases are dropped before then.

“We may not want that information public until the person is charged. Once the person’s charged, we have to turn everything over to the defense anyway,” Klaver said.

The Friends of Seth Williams statement said the allegations are an effort by state Attorney General Kathleen Kane to retaliate against Williams.   Williams blasted Kane’s performance after he  successfully prosecuted a corruption case against several state legislators that Kane had dropped. Kane had said the case was mishandled by her predecessor and was flawed by racial bias.

Kane now faces criminal charges in Montgomery County that she leaked secret grand jury materials to the media.  Those charges claim she broke the law while attempting to retaliate for criticism of her handling of the Philly corruption case.

Speaking with Philadelphia magazine, Kane spokesman Chuck Ardo denied that the attorney general had anything to do with the Inquirer article.

It’s been a busy summer for federal investigators in Pennsylvania, not to mention a tense one for a number of elected officials across the state.

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah of Philadelphia was indicted last month on federal racketeering conspiracy charges. 

Kane faces a preliminary hearing Monday on the charges filed in Montgomery County that she leaked secret information and then lied about it. She is also reportedly under a federal probe.

Outside of Philadelphia, federal agents have raided the homes of the mayor of Allentown and the mayor of Reading.

Earlier Friday, several calls to Williams’ office seeking comment from him personally were not returned.

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

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal