February 11, 2013 •
Proposal in response to exposure of law’s loophole
Philadelphia Councilman James Kenney has proposed an amendment to the city’s contribution limits to close a loophole in the law. Currently, individuals may not contribute more than $2,900 per year to a candidate and PACs are limited to $11,500 per year to a candidate.
It was recently uncovered by NewsWorks, through campaign finance reports for 2012, that Councilman Bill Green received $35,000 in contributions from one person. This would appear to violate the city’s contribution limits. However, it is perfectly legal under the current law.
According to the city’s Board of Ethics director, Shane Creamer, a person could accept as much money as they wanted until they became an official candidate. The funds would have to be kept separate and it would be difficult to legally do, but it is not illegal.
Kenny’s proposed amendment would help to shut this loophole down. Under the proposed ordinance, the contribution limits would include incumbents, which the proposed ordinance defines as any individual who currently holds elective city office. With this new law in effect, Green’s actions in accepting the large contributions would have been illegal.