THE PHILADELPHIA Federation of Teachers made no secret of its support for education-activist-turned-City Council candidate Helen Gym in this spring's primary election.
It now appears that the city's biggest teachers union was a bit too zealous in backing Gym, who in May won a spot on the general-election ballot this fall as an at-large Democrat.
The Philadelphia Board of Ethics announced yesterday that the PFT had agreed to pay a $1,500 fine as part of a settlement for making contributions to Gym's campaign that exceeded the city's contribution limit of $11,500 per candidate.
Also reaching settlements with the board for violating campaign-finance laws were former at-large Democratic City Council candidate Tom Wyatt, who was fined $1,000, and eight political committees which each were fined $1,500, the board announced in a statement.
J. Shane Creamer Jr., the board's executive director, said he was barred from discussing the settlements.
The PFT endorsed Gym on Feb. 5, and four days later PFT President Jerry Jordan announced the endorsement at Gym's jubilant campaign-kickoff rally at the Ethical Society in Rittenhouse Square.
The union's Committee to Support Public Education gave her campaign a check for $11,500 on the day of the rally.
The union was flagged for giving a $11,500 donation to its parent union, the American Federation of Teachers - Pennsylvania Chapter, whose political committee on March 9 wrote a check for that amount to Gym's campaign.
The Board of Ethics said that while Jordan "did not explicitly direct, suggest or request that" the AFT give the $11,500 to Gym's campaign, the circumstances in which the PFT contributed the money to the AFT "created an implied suggestion that" the funds were meant for the support of Gym.
Jordan was out of town and could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Wyatt, who was unsuccessful in his primary race, was flagged for using more than one checking account to make expenditures to support his candidacy.
The eight political committees were fined for missing the May 8 deadline for filing campaign-finance reports. The committees are: APPAC, District Council 1199C PAC, Economic Development PAC, Friends of Richard DeMarco, Friends of Sean Kilkenny, Pennsylvania First PAC, So Phila PAC and SRW&A PAC.