Saturday, November 29, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

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
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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