More trouble for Blondell Reynolds Brown's campaign manager

John D. McDaniel leave Federal Court in Philadelphia, Pa. on February 14, 2013. McDaniel, former campaign manager to City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal wire fraud charge in the theft of more than $100,000 from Brown's campaign fund and another political action committee heavily funded by the Laborers Union. ( DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer )

John McDaniel, the former campaign manager for City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, entered into a settlement agreement Monday afternoon with the Philadelphia Board of Ethics. McDaniel admitted to:

  • Giving Brown $4,600 in campaign contributions in 2011, $2,000 more than the $2,600 per year limit, to cover election expenses. 
  • Giving Brown $3,750 in cashier's checks and checks drawn from his personal bank account to help her pay Board of Ethics fines in 2011 for violations of the city's campaign finance law.
  • Making 40 "material omissions and misstatements" in filing reports for Brown's political action committee and Progressive Action PAC, a political action committee funded by the Laborer's District Council.
  • Committing five violations of the city's ban on political activity by employees. He continued to coordinate Progressive Agenda PAC finances in 2012 after Mayor Nutter gave him a $87,125-per-year job supervising volunteers at the airport.

McDaniel, who pleaded guilty in federal court two weeks ago to stealing from Brown's political action committee and from Progressive Agenda PAC, agreed to pay a $12,450 fine. The settlement agreement said that fine will be waived if McDaniel, due to be sentenced May 14, is sent to federal prison.

Charles Gibbs, McDaniel's attorney, said the settlement showed that McDaniel was taking responsibility for his actions. "He understands that he committed certain violations of the city code and city charter," Gibbs said.

The Board of Ethics on Jan. 28 approved a settlement agreement with Brown, who agreed to pay $48,834 in fines and repayments for a long list of omissions and misstatements in reporting on her political action committee.

Brown reported herself to the board in March 2012 for using her committee for the repayment of a $3,300 personal loan to Chaka “Chip” Fattah Jr., the son of a congressman who has been her political mentor. That disclosure came one month after news reports that the FBI had raided the offices and home of Chip Fattah.*

Brown has repeatedly refused to comment, saying it would be “inappropriate” to discuss an ongoing federal investigation.

McDaniel faces 15 to 21 months in prison for theft estimated to be between $70,000 and $120,000 from Brown's political action committee and from Progressive Agenda PAC. That sentence could be reduced if federal prosecutors tell the judge he cooperated with ongoing investigations.

Along with running Brown’s 2011 campaign for a fourth term, McDaniel was a paid consultant to Nutter’s re-election campaign that year.

Nutter fired McDaniel from his airport job on Jan. 29 after the Board of Ethics issued a report about his work with Brown. McDaniel also lost a job as assistant managing director during Mayor John Street’s second term in 2005 for violating the ban on political activity.

* This post has been corrected.