Fumo drumming up business?

DAVID SWANSON / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Vincent Fumo, seen here taking a break from court last month, wants to become a lobbyist.
DAVID SWANSON / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Vincent Fumo, seen here taking a break from court last month, wants to become a lobbyist.
Posted: June 27, 2014

FORMER STATE Sen. Vince Fumo is making the rounds while a federal judge considers his request to launch a lobbying firm.

Fumo visited the Senate Democratic Caucus meeting in Harrisburg last week.

He also took a tour of the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority's Wholesale Produce Market.

Those seem like excellent places to glad-hand with old friends and allies who might someday become or refer fee-paying clients.

Fumo declined to comment yesterday about last week's visits, following the advice of his defense attorney, Dennis Cogan.

Cogan last week asked U.S. District Judge Ronald Buckwalter to allow Fumo to "interact with friends, and former colleagues, and other business acquaintances throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey in order to try to develop a consulting business, and to pursue other business opportunities."

Fumo spent four years in federal prison on public corruption charges and is still on probation.

Cogan also asked Buckwalter to let Fumo set up his firm "while his many friends, business and political contacts are potentially in a position to help him find business opportunities."

State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams said Fumo was "warmly received" at the caucus meeting. Williams recalled that Fumo said he is "looking at a business opportunity where I give advice."

Fumo was instrumental, while Gov. Ed Rendell was in office, in pushing for state money to keep the Wholesale Produce Market from being lured from South Philly to New Jersey. The expanded and improved market is now in Southwest Philadelphia.

"He was very well-received out at the market," said Jamie McDermott, executive director of the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority. "After all the trials and tribulations he went through to get that place built, this was his first visit."

Here comes the Sunlight

Three of Clout's favorite groups - the Committee of Seventy in Philadelphia, the Sunlight Foundation in Washington, D.C., and the Internet Archive in San Francisco - have teamed up to help voters determine exactly who is trying to influence elections.

The groups gathered this week with 10 volunteers from the Committee of Seventy, who will help launch the effort by logging detailed federal information about political commercials on a Sunlight website - politicaladsleuth.com.

That will create a one-stop location to research spending on political ads, rather than the laborious current method of checking each local television station's records filed with the Federal Communications Commission.

The Internet Archive also plans to create an online trove of every local political campaign television commercial.

Kathy Kiely, the Sunlight Foundation's managing editor, said putting the information within easy reach will help bring more "accountability" to campaigns.

"I think the beauty of putting the data out there is getting as many eyeballs on it as possible," Kiely told the volunteers.

Roger MacDonald of the Internet Archive said Philadelphia was chosen because of several interesting races for the U.S. House this year inside the 90-mile radius of local television stations.

"It really is a model, a pilot program for what can be done in 2016," MacDonald said of the next presidential race.

It could be handy for next year's mayoral race as well, when so-called super PACs (political action committees) are expected to be deployed to influence the election. Super PACs may be able to exceed the city's campaign finance limits, as long as they don't coordinate with a candidate.

To volunteer for the project, contact Ellen Mattleman Kaplan at the Committee of Seventy at 215-557-3600, ext. 102.

Speaking of which . . .

Congratulations to Kaplan, who yesterday was named interim president of the Committee of Seventy. Kaplan takes over from former Daily News editor Zack Stalberg, who is retiring.

No Mondesire mulligan

There will be no legal mulligan for J. Whyatt Mondesire, the former Philadelphia NAACP leader who recently lost a fight over bank records with board members of a nonprofit he founded.

Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Gary Glazer on June 10 gave former Mondesire friends Sid Booker and the Rev. Elisha Morris access to bank records for Next Generation Community Development Corp.

Mondesire, who skipped the hearing where that order was issued, then asked Glazer to overturn the decision and recuse himself from hearing the matter.

Glazer, in orders Tuesday, rejected Mondesire's requests.

Gerald Egan, attorney for Booker and Morris, said Mondesire was seeking a mulligan, a golf term for a do-over.


Email: brennac@phillynews.com

Phone: 215-854-5973

On Twitter: @ChrisBrennanDN

Blog: ph.ly/phillyclout

 

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