Kenney raises $500,000, spends nearly as much

Mayor Kenney raised more than  a half million dollars in the latter  part of 2016 from more than a dozen labor unions and other supporters.

His campaign committee, now named Kenney for Philadelphia, spent more than $400,000 during the same period on consultants, legal fees, and expensive meals at sports stadiums and other restaurants around town.

Kenney’s campaign filed its 2016 annual campaign finance report Tuesday afternoon, the deadline for filing.

Between May 17 and Dec. 31, Kenney raised $13,243 in individual contributions of less than $250 and $573,865 in donations larger than $250. However, $84,050 of those checks were returned in October when the campaign canceled a big fund-raiser, following questions over the sponsors.

Under the city's pay-to-play laws, all money raised at a fund-raiser would be attributed to each sponsor, which would become significant if a sponsor had or was seeking a noncompetitively bid contract with the city.

Businesses are limited to $11,900 in campaign contributions if they want to remain eligible for no-bid contracts.

The largest contributors in Tuesday’s report included the Sprinkler Fitters Union and the Steamfitters Union, each of which donated $11,900. The International Union of Painters contributed $11,500. Peco, the Bricklayers Union, and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers donated $10,000 each.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers donated $5,000 and provided $4,800 worth of food and beverages at a June fund-raiser.

Some city law firms also gave big checks, including Dilworth Paxson ($8,500) and Stradley Ronon ($5,000).

One law firm that received a lot of business from the Kenney campaign was Blank Rome. The firm received $71,780 in three months. The report described the expenses as “legal services.” 

Campaign spokesman Marty O’Rourke said Blank Rome was retained "to help facilitate the campaign's cooperation in responding to information requests from federal authorities."

In August, federal authorities subpoenaed finance records and receipts from Mayor Kenney's campaign committee as part of its investigation into the local electricians union and its leader, John "Johnny Doc" Dougherty.

In addition to big legal fees, Kenney also paid tens of thousands to consultants.

Hilltop Public Solutions, a national political consulting firm that Kenney hired during his run for mayor, continued to get paid last year. Between June and October, the firm was paid $41,600 for “consulting services.” Other consultants paid in the tens of thousand included O’Rourke and Lindsey Perry, both of which are local.

Kenney's biggest check -- $50,000 -- went to Philadelphians for a Fair Future, a nonprofit created to advocate for the passage of the sweetened-beverage tax. 

Kenney also spent time and money at the city’s sporting facilities. There are several “meal expense” charges at Citizens Bank Park and Lincoln Financial Center worth a few hundred, sometimes thousands for each outing during the summer.

"The mayor attended events at Citizens Bank Park and Lincoln Financial Field where the campaign paid for meals for the mayor and guests who also attended these events," O'Rourke said about the meal expenses that ranged from $7 to $1,695. 

O'Rourke said one meal-expense charge listed as $22,786 for Citizens Bank Park on June 17 was a late payment for a January event at the Convention Center.

Then there were three pages' worth of meal expenses at the Race Street Cafe, one of the mayor’s favorite hangouts.

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