HARRISBURG — Republican Party of Pennsylvania Communications Director Megan Sweeney released the following statement regarding Tom Wolf’s closed-door meeting with members of Philadelphia’s City Council last week.
“Tom Wolf’s comments regarding his shady closed-door meeting with Philadelphia City Council raise more questions than answers,” Sweeney said. “On two occasions, Tom Wolf has directly admitted to asking for the support of Philadelphia’s City Council in closed-door meetings in City Hall. According to his campaign, Tom Wolf and Philadelphia City Council also used their secret meeting in City Hall to discuss ‘key issues facing Pennsylvania.’
“What were the ‘key issues facing Pennsylvania’ that were discussed in Tom Wolf’s shady meeting with member of Philadelphia’s City Council? Why did Tom Wolf and Philadelphia’s City Council so casually use a taxpayer-funded government building to conduct political business? How can Tom Wolf not realize holding a shady, closed-door meeting with members of the Philadelphia City Council flies in the face of openness and transparency?
“Philadelphia City Hall should not be used as another headquarters for Tom Wolf and the Democratic Party. Tom Wolf’s continued failure to realize that holding secret, closed-door political meetings in City Hall with City Council is wrong should concern both the voters of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania at large.”
A Timeline Of Tom Wolf And Philadelphia City Council’s Political Meeting In City Hall
Last week, Tom Wolf took part in a closed-door meeting in Philadelphia City Hall with members of Philadelphia’s City Council. Tom Wolf, the Democratic nominee for governor, visited City Council’s caucus session Thursday morning. Wolf first met behind closed doors in Council President Darrell Clarke’s office with almost all of the body’s members.
Tom Wolf: “I really hope I can get their support” “Reporter: ‘What did you discuss with the Council members in that meeting?’ Wolf: ‘Just that I really hope I can get their support and that we can work together and make Pennsylvania the great state it can be.’” (Sean Collins Walsh & Jenny DeHuff, “Tom Wolf visits Philly City Council,” Philadelphia Daily News, 6/6/2014)
Next, the Wolf campaign on the meeting: they “talked broadly about key issues facing Pennsylvania” After news broke of a meeting between Tom Wolf and members of Philadelphia’s City Council behind closed doors in City Hall, the Wolf campaign said that the attendees “talked broadly about the key issues facing Pennsylvania and what needs to be done to make Pennsylvania the great state it can be.” (Sean Collins Walsh & Jenny DeHuff, “Tom Wolf visits Philly City Council,” Philadelphia Daily News, 6/6/2014)
But Tom Wolf confirmed he was conducting political business at that meeting the next day. “I mean, I went in to introduce myself, to say hi and to show that I’m running for statewide office and this is the biggest city in Pennsylvania and I’m happy to meet the people who make decisions on behalf of this city.” (Chris Brennan, “Tom Wolf calls closed City Council meeting concerns ‘nonsense’,” Philadelphia Daily News, 6/6/2014)
“It was politicking in a public building.” “Was that closed-door meeting a violation of the state Sunshine Act, which prohibits a quorum of members of a public body from conducting business in private? No, [Philadelphia City Council President Darrell] Clarke said, the discussion was not about official city business. ‘He was basically saying, ‘Hi,” said Clarke. Wolf said that, in the private meeting, he said, ‘I really hope I can get their support’ in his race against Gov. Corbett. He said they were supportive. So it wasn’t a Sunshine Act violation. It was politicking in a public building.” (Sean Collins Walsh & Jenny DeHuff, “Tom Wolf visits Philly City Council,” Philadelphia Daily News, 6/6/2014)
“Treading A Dangerous Path There” “[Kim de Bourbon, executive director of the Pennsylvania Freedom of Information Coalition] says Council’s private session with Wolf does not appear to fall under any of the exemptions of the Sunshine Act, and thus should have been public. ‘It is kind of a grey area,’ she says. ‘There have been some court rulings about so-called ‘informational sessions.’ But you’re treading down a dangerous path there.’” (Mike Dunn, “Phila. City Council Is Ignoring Sunshine Laws, Watchdog Group Says,” KYW, 6/8/2014)