Former Brown aide got PAC money while working for city

Posted: February 07, 2013

John D. McDaniel, who was Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown's campaign manager while her organization flouted city campaign finance rules, received $126,000 from two political action committees last year while working at Philadelphia International Airport - an apparent violation of the restrictions on political activity by city employees.

McDaniel himself signed a campaign finance report last week as treasurer of the Progressive Agenda PAC, a committee heavily funded by the Laborers' Union. It reported paying McDaniel a total of $76,770 over the course of the year.

Another political activity committee, the Regional Priorities PAC, also heavily funded by the Laborers Union, reported payments to McDaniel totaling $49,434.

Some of the payments were listed as "GOTV," shorthand for Election Day get-out-the-vote efforts. Others were explained as pertaining to a "Voter ID program" or "petty cash," and many were not explained at all.

Philadelphia's City Charter broadly prohibits city employees from taking part in the solicitation, collection, or receipt of contributions "for any political purpose whatsoever."

Regulations adopted by the Board of Ethics two years ago specifically prohibit employees from serving as treasurer of a political committee or participating in get-out-the-vote activities organized by a partisan group.

But it's too late to fire McDaniel from his $87,125-a-year airport patronage job. He was already fired last week by the man who hired him - Mayor Nutter - because of the financial irregularities cited by the Ethics Board from Brown's 2011 reelection campaign.

The dismissal was "imperative to ensure the integrity of our government and our personnel," the mayor said.

McDaniel held a series of jobs in the Street administration but was forced to resign when a candidate for judge listed a payment to McDaniel as a campaign consultant.

Phil Goldsmith, managing director at the time, said he was "shocked" to find out that the Nutter administration had put him back on the payroll.

Nutter spokesman Mark McDonald said last week that Nutter cleared McDaniel for a city job only after warning him personally that he would have to give up politics.

His job at the airport was directing a program of volunteers to provide advice to travelers.

Contact Bob Warner at 215-854-5885 or

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