Who will return Johnny Doc’s political donations following his conviction?
The dust is settling on the conviction of Philadelphia union leader John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty on a host of federal conspiracy charges. Among his charges: purchasing a seat on Philadelphia City Council, in the form of Northeast Philly Council member Bobby Henon, at $ 70,000 a year. In return, Henon made Dougherty’s offer. Henon was also convicted of several federal charges.
But that $ 70,000 annually to ensure influence over city council, while significant for federal offices, is tiny compared to the roughly $ 40 million for Johnny Doc’s union, IBEW Local 98, has spent on politics across Pennsylvania since 2010.
If Johnny Doc demanded Henon’s loyalty for $ 70,000 a year, what did he demand from dozens of other elected officials he helped propel to power?
The question remains whether these politicians will stay loyal to Johnny Doc or part ways with his money and influence once and for all.
Here are some of the main recipients of Johnny Doc’s tainted contributions:
Dougherty’s brother, Democrat Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dougherty, at the top of the list. In 2015, Johnny Doc helped elect his brother to the state’s Supreme Court with more than $ 1.5 million in direct and in-kind contributions. In fact, the IBEW was Judge Dougherty’s biggest contributor, far surpassing the Better Futures Litigation Committee, which donated $ 850,000. If it seems unfortunate that a state Supreme Court judge has taken so much advantage of a family member who is now a federal convict, it is because he is.
Dougherty’s legal choices do not end there. By the end of 2020, 47 sitting judges had received campaign donations from his union, including Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge Dan McCaffery ($ 190,000) and Commonwealth Court Judge Ellen Ceisler (just over $ 100,000), who was elected in 2017.
Then Pa. Governor Tom Wolf, which received over $ 1.2 million from Johnny Doc’s union. Notably, Wolf took $ 300,000 after Johnny Doc was indicted by the Justice Department in January 2019. If Johnny Doc expected a board member for $ 70,000 a year to make his offer, who expecting a sitting governor in exchange for $ 1.2 million?
RELATED: You Can’t Fix Philly’s Culture of Corruption when almost everyone is complicit.
In Philadelphia itself, Dougherty’s largesse was greatest, especially in northeast Philadelphia. Democratic Representative Ed Neilson received over $ 397,000 from Johnny Doc’s union.
In 2014, when Neilson was a candidate for city council, The Philadelphia Inquirer Noted that Johnny Doc credited him with “helping… to build the ‘machine'” that puts union leaders “‘in the right room’ with the entrepreneurs, developers and politicians who controlled jobs. Now that he was funded by this machine to the tune of almost $ 400,000, what doors did Neilson open for Dougherty and his allies?
The following Philadelphia lawmakers also received more than $ 100,000 each from IBEW 98:
- Senator Anthony Williams (D-Philadelphia): over $ 290,000.
- Representative Kevin Boyle (D-Philadelphia): $ 220,000. Boyle was recently arrested and charged with harassment and violating an abuse protection order.
- Newly elected state Senator John Kane (D-Delaware): $ 215,000, including $ 140,000 since the indictment of Johnny Doc.
- Senator Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia), candidate for the US Senate: $ 150,000, including $ 50,000 since the indictment.
- Representative Angel Cruz (D-Philadelphia): $ 143,000, including $ 23,000 since the indictment.
- Senator Vince Hughes (D-Philadelphia): $ 117,500, including $ 70,000 since the indictment.
- Representative Mike Driscoll (D-Philadelphia): $ 116,500, including more than $ 25,000 since the indictment.
While Pennsylvania Democrats were the main beneficiaries of Johnny Doc’s largesse, Republicans were also on the list.
Republican philadelphia Municipal Commissioner Al Schmidt, for example, received $ 97,500, including nearly $ 22,000 since Johnny Doc’s indictment. Ironically, Schmidt recently announced his resignation as commissioner to lead the committee of seventy of the Philadelphia “good government” group. Is accepting money from someone indicted by the FBI now considered “good governance”?
Finally, Pennsylvania raises serious concerns Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who has taken nearly $ 250,000 from Johnny Doc since 2005. Shapiro is now running for governor and is expected to be the Democratic nominee. When request In early November, if he thought the jury would convict Johnny Doc, Shapiro replied, “I think given my role as GA I can’t answer that one. “
Here’s a question Shapiro can answer: Now that Johnny Doc has been convicted, will Shapiro return the $ 250,000? Will any of the above politicians return the money tainted, for that matter?
From distributing millions to judges, elected officials, our governor, our attorney general and countless others, it’s no wonder Johnny Doc has been able to shield himself from scrutiny for so many years. . The question remains whether these politicians will stay loyal to Johnny Doc or part ways with his money and influence once and for all.
Gina Diorio is Director of Public Affairs at the Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs, an independent, non-partisan 501 (c) (6) organization dedicated to improving the business environment and educational opportunities in Pennsylvania.www.thecommonwealthpartners.com.
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Header photo: pa.gov