Johnny Doc corruption charges

Johnny Doc’s death grip on politics, from Philly to the White House

Here’s a look at some of the major politicians he’s helped, funded or gladhanded, and a breakdown of those relationships.

John Dougherty

John Dougherty

Screenshot via YouTube

Philadelphia union boss John Dougherty’s house and bar were raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Friday morning, as was Councilman Bobby Henon’s City Hall office. But the political implications of the murky investigation into the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98 stretch from South Philly to Harrisburg to the White House.

Dougherty is the business manager of the IBEW Local 98 union, easily the most politically powerful union in Pennsylvania, one that routinely dumps millions of dollars into political campaigns.

Known as Johnny Doc, the union boss — who recently expanded his power by taking over as the head of the building trades unions in Philly — has been investigated before but cleared by federal officials. Today, his financial and political tentacles encircle dozens of City Hall offices, including the mayor’s.

While IBEW Local 98 has donated to hundreds of political campaigns over the years, here’s a look at some of the major politicians he’s helped, funded or gladhanded, and a breakdown of those relationships:

President Barack Obama

Screenshot DNC broadcast

IBEW claims its “high-tech” campaigning helped lift the Obama-Biden ticket in Philadelphia in 2008. Dougherty produced an hour-long message about voting for Obama that was loaded onto “an mp3 player” and mailed to 5,000 union members.

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton Temple
Screenshot from Clinton's Temple speech

Dougherty met up with Hillary in April along with Mayor Jim Kenney and Congressman Bob Brady to chat about union-related issues. Dougherty said: “We talked with Ms. Clinton for 20 minutes about her support of Pre-Apprenticeship Programs, diversity in the workforce, and Project Labor Agreements.”

Gov. Tom Wolf

Wolf budget insult
Screenshot, budget address

Local 98 actually supported one of Wolf’s primary opponents, longtime Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, but it switched to support Wolf in the general when he took on incumbent Republican Gov. Tom Corbett. In February, a month after Wolf took office, the governor appointed Dougherty to the Regional Port Authority board.

Mayor Jim Kenney

Mayor Jim Kenney

Mayor Jim Kenney

Chris Montgomery/Billy Penn

Kenney and J-Doc have a complicated relationship, but Dougherty was the largest figure behind getting Kenney elected mayor. The two have close family ties — Dougherty’s mother is Kenney’s godmother and Kenney’s father is Dougherty’s sister’s godfather. Both attended St. Joe’s Prep and La Salle University. The two later had a falling out when Kenney became a protege of former State Senator-turned-convicted-felon Vince Fumo. Kenney and Dougherty patched things up in recent years and IBEW Local 98 poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into Kenney’s successful campaign for mayor. 

They even put his head on sticks:

US Congressman Bob Brady

Bob Brady sips from the Pope's water glass.

Bob Brady sips from the Pope's water glass.

Brady received $10,000 from Doc’s union this year. His campaign spent $5,200 at Doc’s Union Pub in 2002. They regularly attend the same public functions.

US Congressman Brendan Boyle

Councilman Brendan Boyle

Councilman Brendan Boyle

Screenshot via YouTube

Doc’s Super PAC “Building a Better PA” was instrumental in getting Boyle elected to Congress in 2014. Dougherty called Boyle “a special talent” after his victory.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum

Sen. Rick Santorum

Sen. Rick Santorum

Wikimedia Commons

J-Doc hasn’t just helped out the Dems. In the 2006 Senate race, he backed Rick Santorum over Bob Casey, who would win the seat.  

Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dougherty

State Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dougherty

State Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dougherty

You could say newly-elected Supreme Court justice Kevin Dougherty is close with Johnny Doc. They’re brothers. IBEW Local 98 put hundreds of thousands of dollars into Kevin Dougherty’s coffers so he could run for a seat on the Supreme Court and, through some savvy political maneuvering, John Dougherty helped win his brother support from top pols in western Pennsylvania, too.

Democratic nominee for Congress Dwight Evans

Candidate for U.S. Congress Dwight Evans

Soon-to-be Congressman Dwight Evans

PA House

Evans and Doc haven’t always been close, but IBEW Local 98 and other Doc affiliates donated nearly half a million dollars to him between 2006 and 2011. Evans was also instrumental in forming the alliance that helped Doc-ally Kenney get elected in 2015.

Former Mayor Michael Nutter

Michael Nutter at the scene of the crash.

Michael Nutter at the scene of the Amtrak crash.

Photo provided

Nutter got $11,500 from IBEW Local 98…in July 2015. That would be with six months left in his tenure as mayor, with no new election in sight.

Council President Darrell Clarke

Council President Darrell Clarke during Wednesday night's late Council meeting.

Council President Darrell Clarke

Screenshot via live stream

Dougherty has donated to Council President Clarke in the past and supported him for Council President over Northwest Philadelphia Councilwoman Marian Tasco. In 2014, Dougherty donated to and held a fundraiser for Clarke for mayor before the council president had even announced a run. He ended up not running, allowing a space for Kenney to slide in.

Councilman Bobby Henon

Councilman Bobby Henon, right, talks with Council President Darrell Clarke during a Council hearing this year.

Councilman Bobby Henon, right, talks with Council President Darrell Clarke during a Council hearing this year.

Jenna Eason/Billy Penn

Once the political director of IBEW Local 98, Henon is now a Councilman who appears to be wrapped up in the FBI’s investigation of Dougherty. Henon, an electrician himself, was elected because of major support from the union and continues to be paid at least $70,000 for undisclosed union work annually. After a Council session regarding the soda tax earlier this year, Dougherty reportedly stood up for Henon saying to opponents of the soda tax, “If you fuck with my boy, I’ll fuck with you.”

Rep. Kevin Boyle

State Rep. Kevin Boyle

State Rep. Kevin Boyle


Local 98 poured at least $180,000 into the campaign of state Rep. Kevin Boyle — brother of Congressman Brendan Boyle — when he ran in the Democratic primary for state Senate earlier this year. Boyle narrowly lost to state Sen. John Sabatina.

State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams

Tony Williams GOTV

Though Local 98 snubbed Williams in his run for mayor in 2015, the union donated $30,000 to pad his state senate coffers just this year.

State Reps and Senators


State Sen. Vincent Hughes

  • Michael O’Brien
  • Bill Keller
  • Martina White
  • Vincent Hughes
  • John Sabatina Jr.
  • Angel Cruz
  • Ed Neilson
  • Brian Sims
  • John Taylor

City Council Members

Councilman Bill Greenlee, left, sits next to Councilman Bobby Henon during a City Council hearing.

Councilman Bill Greenlee, left, sits next to Councilman Bobby Henon during a City Council hearing.

Jenna Eason/Billy Penn
  • Marian Tasco
  • William Greenlee
  • Blondell Reynolds Brown
  • Derek Green
  • Cherelle Parker
  • Jannie Blackwell
  • Curtis Jones Jr.

City Commissioners

  • Al Schmidt
  • Lisa Deeley
  • Anthony Clark

The rest

  • Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams
  • Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala
  • Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele
  • City Controller Alan Butkovitz
  • Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian

Want some more? Explore other Johnny Doc corruption charges stories.

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