Saturday, May 23, 2015

Is Johnny Doc Trying to Use EZ Pass Records to Spy on Rivals?

Was electricians’ union leader John Dougherty trying to spy on his political rivals by seeking their EZ Pass records?

Is Johnny Doc Trying to Use EZ Pass Records to Spy on Rivals?

Was electricians’ union leader John Dougherty trying to spy on his political rivals by seeking their EZ Pass records?

That accusation prompted an angry confrontation between City Councilman Frank DiCicco and Dougherty at a recent caucus of Pennsylvania members of the Delaware River Port Authority.

Last month, Dougherty sought and received some records about fellow DRPA board members who took advantage of a policy, since discontinued, giving them free EZ Pass entry to DRPA-controlled bridges. (Dougherty had declined the free pass.)

DiCicco angrily accused Dougherty of seeking private information to smear his political foes. Dougherty insisted in a letter after the meeting his aim was to “cut costs and increase transparency” by looking into the freebie for insiders.

None of the principals would comment, but Clout spoke to four participants in the meeting and reviewed correspondence generated afterward.

It appears Dougherty never got anyone’s actual EZ pass usage data, but did get a list of those who got the perk and their EZ pass account numbers.

The intriguing question is his motive. If the point was saving money, why go after records of a perk that ended last July? And Clout remembers Dougherty saying in 2005 he’d secured the phone records of another political adversary, City Councilman Jim Kenney.

Dougherty’s letter says he’ll continue his quest for information. Stay tuned...

To read more political gossip, check out today's Clout column in the Daily News.

About this blog
William Bender, a Drexel graduate who landed at the Daily News in 2007, has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters. He occasionally writes about local food trucks and always eats everything on his plate, whether it be a bloody rib eye or a corrupt politician. E-mail tips to benderw@phillynews.com
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David Gambacorta, has been a reporter with the Daily News since 2005, covering crime, police corruption and all of the other bizarre things that happen in Philadelphia. Now he’s covering the 2015 mayor’s race, because he enjoys a good circus just as much as the next guy. He’s always looking to get a cup of coffee. Send news tips and other musings on life to gambacd@phillynews.com
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