Saturday, February 25, 2006

Mayor Street for Congress?

Pinch me, somebody. Philadelphia Mayor John Street is talking about continuing his political career in Congress:

Philadelphia Mayor John Street says he might consider running for Congress when his term expires in 2008. But a Democratic congressman who has his eye on the mayor’s office is trying to discourage the idea of swapping jobs.
Representative Chaka Fattah has said it’s “highly likely” he’ll run for mayor in 2007. He says he wouldn’t support Street for Congress because U-S House members are typically younger when elected to it and may stay for a decade. Street is 62.
Fattah says he would prefer to see his district represented by a black woman. And he says if he runs for mayor, he “might even be in a position to make that happen.”
Street says if there is a congressional vacancy, he “will consider it.” But he also says he has given “almost no attention” to his possible “post-mayoral activities.”

This is the same Mayor Street whose administration gave Philadelphians the "pay for play" scandal. By my count, at least 12 people have been indicted in that corruption investigation, and at least nine of those have been convicted or pleaded guilty, including former City Treasurer Corey Kemp. Who knows how many more people might have been convicted if Mayor Street hadn't found the FBI bug in his office?

But, hey, if Democrats like Barney Frank and Alcee Hastings can be respected members of Congress, why not John Street?


UPDATE: The pay-to-play scandal keeps making news regularly in Philadelphia. In just the past week, there was a plea deal in the Rick Mariano bribery case, and the U.S. Supreme Court turned down an appeal by powerful Democratic state Sen. Vincent J. Fumo:

The appeal was related to an FBI search last year of Fumo's offices and the offices of Citizens Alliance for Better Neighborhoods. The nonprofit, its leaders and the senator have been the focus of a federal investigation into whether the charity illegally engaged in political activity. ...

The investigation is widespread, probing the nonprofit's real estate deals and possible obstruction of justice. In addition, records show the nonprofit paid $250,000 for political polling, and, sources said, it spent $17,000 to secretly finance a lawsuit against a Fumo foe, the senior Republican in the state Senate, Robert Jubelirer. ...

No one has been charged in the case, which began three years ago. Sources have said Citizens Alliance executive director Ruth Arnao has received a target letter from prosecutors, signaling that she may face indictment.
A key question in the case is how much control Fumo holds over Citizens Alliance. Although the senator has no official title with the nonprofit, it was founded in 1991 by Arnao and two other former Fumo aides.
Fumo has been responsible for much of Citizens Alliance's funding. He arranged for Peco Energy Co. to give Citizens Alliance $17 million and for the Delaware River Port Authority to give it $10 million.

Wow! $27 million is a lot of money for a local charity, and if even a fraction of that money found its way into political action, it could make a big difference at the state and local level.