Philadelphia GOP Leaders File Ethics Complaint Over Nutter’s Trip To Democratic Convention

Philadelphia Inquirer

Several city Republican leaders filed a complaint Thursday with the city Board of Ethics about Mayor Nutter’s taking two aides with him to the Democratic National Convention.

Rick Hellberg, who leads a faction of the local GOP, joined Republican ward leaders Michael Cibik and J. Matthew Wolfe in alleging that the two aides, Lauren Walker and Tumar Alexander, violated political-activity restrictions based on the City Charter.

The Nutter administration says that neither of the city workers engaged in politics. Their presence in Charlotte, N.C., the administration contends, allowed the mayor to keep in touch with his responsibilities in Philadelphia and handle additional duties as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The Ethics Board complaint, drafted by Wolfe, alleges the situation gives “the appearance of impropriety due to the close connection between the partisan political activities at any national political convention and any alleged nonpolitical activities.”

In addition to Walker and Alexander, the mayor was accompanied by a security detail of three city police officers who drove the mayor’s city car to Charlotte and provided security during the week.

Mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald said total expenses for the five city employees came to $7,363, paid for by city taxpayers, not counting salaries or police overtime. The mayor’s travel expenses will be paid with campaign funds, McDonald said.

He called the ethics complaint “unwarranted.”

Hellberg said the aides’ travel expenses should have been paid with the mayor’s campaign funds or by the Democratic Party.

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