Quiñones-Sánchez files ethics complaint about old foe's funding
Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez has filed an ethics complaint regarding the quiet cash-flow that supported her former opponent Manny Morales in the 7th District Council race.
Morales unsuccessfully tried to unseat the two-term councilwoman back in May, and lost by a nail-biting margin of 850 votes.
Most of Morales’ campaign cash had dried up following allegations about the racist, homophobic and anti-immigrant content on his old Facebook account. Then, just days before the primary election, Morales received some outside support that partially funded his large get-out-the-vote effort across the 7th District.
The Councilwoman’s ethics charge cites findings uncovered by an AL DÍA News campaign finance investigation back in June. We broke the story that IBEW Local 98, the electrician’s union led by quiet kingmaker John Dougherty, made a last-minute contribution of $75,000 to Quiñones-Sánchez’s political opponents who were backing Morales.
The Councilwoman pointed out to the Ethics Board three separate $25,000 donations to 19th Ward Leader Carlos Matos, State Rep. Leslie Acosta, and 7th Ward Leader/State Rep. Angel Cruz, whom were all backing Morales’ bid.
In her complaint, Quiñones-Sánchez called it “pattern of abuses that strikes at the very heart of the city's campaign law.”
The biggest legal concern is not the donations themselves, but rather that eight of the 12 wards that comprise the 7th District did not report their expenditures to the state, as required by law since 1978.
AL DÍA uncovered the alleged “dark money” in Local 98’s campaign finance reports.
While it is illegal, failure to file a campaign finance report with the state is rarely punished. Pennsylvania’s has a maximum $250 fine for late filers, and does not pursue culprits unless a complaint is made.