Is U.S. Rep. Bob Brady stiffing the Democratic Party in one of the most competitive midterm elections in modern history?
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the party's congressional arm, recently gave its House members a report card: The document breaks down how much each member helped out the DCCC financially.
According to the report, Brady was given a goal of paying $250,000 in dues to the DCCC in the 2017-18 campaign cycle. His actual contribution: $0.
He had a goal of raising another $250,000 for the DCCC. But as of September, he brought in $30,400.
The report also states that Brady, who is not running for reelection after 20 years in the U.S. House, has donated nothing this cycle to Democrats in the nation's tightest races.
Some Democrats are grumbling over the alleged stinginess of Brady, who is staying on as leader of Philadelphia's Democratic Party after more than three decades in that post.
"It's pathetic that he wouldn't help out the DCCC when we have so many competitive races in our area," said one Democratic consultant. "Having a Democratic Congress would do a ton to help Philadelphia, and it's not like Bob Brady has a lot better to do with his time. Brady's refusal to give money is a thumb in the eye of Democrats angry about Donald Trump."
In a phone call, Brady said that "for the past 20 years, I paid my dues."
But this election cycle is different, he said: "We're not required to pay dues if we don't run for reelection."
Clout asked a spokesperson for the DCCC if that is true. He didn't immediately respond to our question.
There may be a reason Brady hasn't given more. He spent much of 2017 under FBI investigation after it was disclosed that Brady's campaign gave $90,000 to a primary challenger in 2012 who dropped out of the race.
Brady, who was not charged with a crime, has said that he "got a complete bill of health" clearing him.
But it cost him. According to campaign-finance reports, he spent almost $511,000 on legal fees over the last two years.
In N.J. race, MacArthur ties Kim to Abu-Jamal in ads
Republicans in Pennsylvania have a long history of tying Democrats and other political foes to convicted Philadelphia cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Sen. Pat Toomey; Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick; and his brother, former Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, all did it.
After this year's midterm elections, we can add New Jersey Rep. Tom MacArthur to that list: He began running TV ads this week suggesting that Andy Kim, a former national security official under President Barack Obama, is connected to Abu-Jamal.
The ads are similar to an anti-Kim mailer that Republicans sent out earlier this month featuring photos of both Abu-Jamal and the Weather Underground's Bill Ayers, who was implicated in a bombing of the Pentagon.
MacArthur has been hammering this theme since the summer, when he said in an interview that Kim founded a "radical political organization" called Rise Stronger while preparing to run for Congress. In his TV ad, he said the group "promoted" books by Abu-Jamal and Ayers.
The Kim campaign said the link to the books was to a third-party site, goodreads.com, and was posted by a volunteer.
"It was a sophisticated resistance organization that had a board of directors, incorporated in Delaware, filed with the IRS, and organized large-scale events," said Chris Russell, of the MacArthur campaign.
As someone who worked in the Pentagon, Kim said, he took particular umbrage.
"Tom MacArthur's gross attempt to link Andy with terrorists is reprehensible," said Kim spokesperson Forrest Rilling.
GOP candidate gets in Twitter fight with Don Cheadle
Twitter can be tricky business for a long-shot politician picking fights with a Hollywood celebrity. Maybe it draws attention to the campaign. Maybe you get dunked on, hard.
Bryan Leib, the Republican nominee in Philadelphia's Third Congressional District, learned that Saturday when he decided to go after actor Don Cheadle, who had criticized the recent crazy-pants visit by Kanye West with President Trump in the Oval-freaking-Office.
"Who the hell are you guys to criticize him for expressing his beliefs???" Leib tweeted.
Cheadle rattled off a few of West's more outlandish comments from the meeting and then asked Leib: "Are you also on bath salts? You're running for office?"
It went back and forth for more than an hour, until Leib suggested Cheadle would support his campaign "if you took 10 minutes to get to know me."
Cheadle, unswayed, replied: "I don't even know who your opponent is, but I'm considering endorsing them. Take care, Bryan."
For the record, Leib is running against Rep. Dwight Evans, a Democrat who probably doesn't need Cheadle's help. Eighty-one percent of the district's voters are registered as Democrats.