"Seth in the City" is not a hit

D.A. Williams, shown in 2011 in Harrisburg, is under scrutiny for a campaign email. ASSOCIATED PRESS
D.A. Williams, shown in 2011 in Harrisburg, is under scrutiny for a campaign email. ASSOCIATED PRESS
Posted: June 07, 2012

HERE’S A HANDY guide to etiquette for politicians inviting people to campaign fundraisers:

It’s quirky but acceptable to ask women to "dress like a star and put on your sexiest shoes."

It’s much more of a problem to have the campaign email employees at work to say that their boss would love it if they attended and urges them to invite other staffers to tag along.

So it goes for "Seth in the City," the Wednesday-evening fundraiser for District Attorney Seth Williams, modeled on the HBO show "Sex and the City."

Lisette Gonzalez, executive director for Williams’ political-action committee, last week emailed 34 of his staffers with the rank of deputy or chief, advising them that city ethics rules allow them to attend the fundraiser and contribute to their boss’ bid for a second term in 2013.

"I know for a fact, Seth would love it you could attend and support his event next week," Gonzalez wrote in her email.

That looks like macing — pressuring public employees for campaign money — according to Sam Stretton, an attorney for Williams’ campaign.

Gonzalez and Tasha Jamerson, a spokeswoman for the D.A., said that Williams did not know about or approve the email before it was sent. The email was first reported by the Legal Intelligencer Tuesday.

"You can’t go and put subtle pressure on staff to contribute. That’s illegal," Stretton said Tuesday. "I just think Seth has to realize that he’s in the big time. He has to get his campaign staff a little better organized."

Gonzalez took the blame, saying that Williams set her straight.

"I was hoping that we would get responses and I would surprise him with some of his chiefs and deputies being there," she said. "From here on out, I’m not to send any campaign-related material to anybody [with a District Attorney’s Office email]."

Gonzalez said that she hasn’t seen "a whole lot of staff support" at campaign fundraisers, lamenting as "sad" the fact that her email was leaked to the media.

The fundraiser invitation says that it is black-tie optional, adding:

"Ladies, dress like a star and put on your sexiest shoes. Gentlemen, dress to impress!"

Jamerson said that First Assistant District Attorney Ed McCann, who received the email, "immediately identified that it was not appropriate" and alerted the staff that they were not obligated to attend the fundraiser.

Contact Chris Brennan at 215-854-5973 or email him at brennac@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisBrennanDN and read his blog, PhillyClout.com.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|