When offered a place in the express lane for Eagles Super Bowl tickets – a ticket for its face value through the Eagles organization – Mayor Kenney declined. He watched the game from Philadelphia. Councilman Allan Domb turned down the perk, too. He went to the game with his son, who purchased secondary-market tickets.
This squeaky-clean action made us feel something Philadelphians rarely feel: proudly uncompromised by our elected officials.
Unfortunately, we can’t say the same for Gov. Wolf and four Philadelphia City Council members who took advantage of their positions to get rare, face-value Super Bowl tickets while many fans had to pay steep secondary-market prices or just couldn’t get them.
It’s not illegal. But it is sleazy. No public benefit comes from politicians using their positions to benefit themselves.
The governor’s spokesman said Wolf’s office reached out to the Eagles and got three tickets for $1,600 each. At the time, tickets were going for about $6,900 each on the secondary market, which fluctuates like the stock market. The Eagles asked some Council members if they wanted two, $1,900 face-value tickets at a time when secondary-market prices were almost $6,800.
Council members Mark Squilla, Derek Green, Blondell Reynolds Brown, and Maria Quiñones-Sánchez told staff writer Holly Otterbein they said yes. They all said personal funds covered the tickets. (Reporters will watch to make sure the politicians don’t charge tickets to their campaign accounts.) The governor and Council members should have known better than to take a break that’s not generally available to their constituents, a break that exists for them only because of their elected positions in government.
Here’s the guideline: If regular people can’t get tickets or any other item, like a free couch or a vacation trip, and there is no public benefit to taking the perk, politely say no.