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Latest News - July 2015

July 22, 2015
Teachers union caught breaking campaign finance laws, gets off easy

The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Federation of Teachers coordinated in a deliberate attempt to break Philadelphia campaign finance law, according to a settlement reached Tuesday between the PFT and the Philadelphia Board of Ethics.

The PFT gave City Council candidate Helen Gym $11,500, Philadelphia's per candidate contribution limit. On Feb. 26, the PFT donated exactly $11,500 to the Pennsylvania chapter of the AFT. That very same day, the Pennsylvania chapter's executive council voted to write Gym's campaign a check for exactly $11,500. Both the PFT and the Board of Ethics agreed this arrangement exceeded Philadelphia's per-candidate contribution limits by $11,500.

The maximum penalty for a campaign finance violation in Philadelphia is $2,000. Under the settlement, the union's fine was reduced to $1,500 even though its donation was $11,500 too large.

The settlement did not state whether Gym was required to return the excess $11,500 she received. The Executive Director of the Philadelphia Board of Ethics, Shane Creamer, told the Washington Examiner that a confidentiality agreement restricts him from commenting on whether that was the case.



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