A new building trades union group is running television commercials supporting state Rep. Brendan Boyle's bid for the U.S. House. But the group has not disclosed so far where it got the money for the ads.
"Building a Better PA," a federal political action committee, was registered with the Federal Election Commission on March 11 "to make independent expenditures." That means it is not coordinating with any candidate, according to federal election law.
Frank Keel, a spokesman for Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, today identified Wayne Miller, business manager of the Sprinkler Fitters Local 692, as president of the new PAC.
Keel issued a statement from Miller, calling the group "an independent coalition of Philadelphia area labor unions and concerned citizens."
The ad uses language similar to Boyle's campaign, describing his opponents in the May 20 primary election for the 13th District seat as "millionaires" who are attacking him. The ad portrays Boyle as a defender of abortion rights, an issue his fellow candidates have called into question.
The ad appears to use footage from Boyle's own campaign YouTube channel. The scene of Boyle with a welder (at the 1:07 minute mark here) appears in the PAC commercial.
The commercial features pictures of Boyle's opponents -- former U.S. Rep. Marjorie Margolies, state Sen. Daylin Leach and Dr. Valerie Arkoosh -- while complaining again about "millionaires in Congress."
Pat Gillespie, business manager for the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council, said he knows about the commercial but that his group did not fund it.
"I heard some union leadership was involved but I wouldn't know who," Gillespie said when asked who funds the PAC. "But I support the idea."
PhillyClout hears the PAC invested $100,000 to run the ad for three days.
Attorney Peter Nichols, serves as the PAC's treasurer. Nichols, a consultant for the Democratic Party in New Jersey, did not respond to requests today for more information about the PAC.
Nichols filed a campaign finance report on April 12 that said the PAC had no money, no expenses, no paid staff or office space. "The committee relies on consultants and volunteers to administer is activities," that filing said.