The Philly ethics board fines PAC formed by retired cops that spent big against Krasner

The Philadelphia Board of Ethics issued a $12,000 fine against a PAC that supported a challenger to District Attorney Larry Krasner.

Seal for the Philly DA's Office

The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office. (Angela Gervasi / Billy Penn)

A political action committee founded by former law enforcement officers, which heavily backed Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner’s opponent in the May Primary, has been fined for violating the city’s campaign finance guidelines.

Protect Our Police PAC, which poured money into ads that helped Krasner challenger Carlos Vega’s campaign, missed filing deadlines on seven campaign finance reports. City ethics rules require PACs to disclose revenues, debts, and expenditures that influence the outcome of an election.

The PAC and its president, Nicholas Gerace, agreed to pay a $12,000 fine, according to an agreement made public by the city’s Ethics Board.

The settlement agreement indicates staff were in contact with the PAC about late filing and that a third party filed a formal complaint in April about the group’s expenditures. Ultimately, nearly all of the group’s financial disclosure reports were filed after the May 18 Primary had already concluded.

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Reports released by the PAC outline nearly $310,000 in spending this year, with large sums going toward independent expenditures, like advertising buys. The group received large contributions from the Philadelphia FOP Lodge 5 PAC, a political committee representing the local police union, which loudly opposed Krasner’s candidacy.

The group was a major boon to Vega’s failed challenge and ran some of the only election ads in the race. But it also courted public controversy, ultimately issuing an apology for a fundraising letter that blamed George Floyd for his own death.

The PAC has not responded to requests for comment.

Correction: June 18, 2021 

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A previous version of this article did not clarify that the Protect Our Police PAC indirectly supported Carlos Vega’s campaign through its independent expenditures.

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