Philadelphia was the toast of the political world in late July. It was right here where Hillary Clinton gave her acceptance speech as the first woman major party presidential nominee in United States history. Here, where Barack Obama explained how American vindicated his hope over the last eight years. Here, where Khazir Khan picked a fight with Donald Trump that the rookie candidate just couldn’t seem to let go. Here where area political figures like Congressman Bob Brady and Mayor Jim Kenney spoke highly of their city and how Trump didn’t fit in.
Then Bill Clinton caught the last balloon falling from the roof of the Wells Fargo Center, Hillary Clinton skipped town after another speech at Temple, the DNC 2016 signs disappeared from street poles, they sold those fiberglass donkeys and regular Philadelphia politics returned.
And they returned big time.
It was like Philadelphia and Pennsylvania held their breath for months while the nation waited to party here, and once the national political figures left, they passed out, unable to hold back scandals any longer. In the first two weeks of August, we’ve had scandals or investigations touch two city councilmen, the biggest political benefactor of the sitting mayor, the district attorney and the spokesperson for the former mayor. Oh, and Attorney General Kathleen Kane got convicted for lying and resigned.
Here’s a rundown of what’s happened in this corruption-filled month that, by the way, is only about halfway over:
John Dougherty and Bobby Henon, August 5
The Feds raided union leader Johnny Doc’s South Philly home early this morning and later raided Doc’s Union Pub, IBEW Local 98s headquarters and Councilman Bobby Henon’s office. Henon is a board member of Local 98.
Dougherty is arguably the most powerful person in Philly politics. His connections extend from City Council to Mayor Jim Kenney to Hillary Clinton, whom he met with earlier this year.
There’s more: While Kenney’s office was not raided, the Inquirer reported the Feds are after Dougherty in part because of his union’s involvement with the political campaigns of Kenney and Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dougherty, Dougherty’s brother.
Kenyatta Johnson, August 6
William Bender of the Daily News reported the FBI is investigating Councilman Kenyatta Johnson over no-bid real estate deals in Point Breeze. The article detailed how Johnson approved the sale of city properties without a bidding process to several buyers who contributed to his campaign.
Attorney General Kathleen Kane, August 15
Kane’s trial on perjury and obstruction charges relating to a leak of secret grand jury information to the Daily News began last week. After prosecutors provided witness testimony, text messages and a recorded phone call against her, her attorneys rested their case without calling a witness. A jury found her guilty Monday night. By about 1:30 p.m. today she resigned. With Kane out, top deputy Bruce Castor takes over as acting AG. So the former Montgomery County district attorney who declined to press charges against Bill Cosby in 2005 will be the No. 1 enforcer of Pennsylvania law.
Not only was Kane found guilty, we discovered through the trial a BUNCH of odd happenings between her and her staffers.
Seth Williams, August 15
Williams, Philadelphia’s District Attorney, didn’t report five years worth of gifts he should have reported under state and local codes until Monday. These gifts included a $45,000 roof repair and airfare and lodging to places like Key West, Las Vegas and the Dominican Republic. The Inquirer reported last year the FBI was looking into Williams. This could be why. Williams’ lawyer said, “The true answer is, he should have reported it. He failed to do so. And he accepts responsibility.”
Michael Nutter, August 16
Since leaving office in January the former Mayor had largely been in the news just for accepting new jobs. That changed Tuesday when City Controller Alan Butkovitz held a press conference at which he accused Desiree Peterkin-Bell, the former chair of the Reserves Account of the Mayor’s Fund, of improperly using revenue from the Philadelphia Marathon to pay for a trip to Rome ahead of the pope’s visit, among other things.
Nutter attacked Butkovitz after the report, calling him “a liar, a snake and a hypocrite” and “a sad and sick person.”