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Judge orders 2 PACs to respond to Ethics Board

Two political committees that have been heavy donors to U.S. Rep. Bob Brady will have to answer questions from the city Board of Ethics, a Philadelphia judge ruled yesterday.

Two political committees that have been heavy donors to U.S. Rep. Bob Brady will have to answer questions from the city Board of Ethics, a Philadelphia judge ruled yesterday.

One of the committees is Unity 2001, run by one of Brady's congressional staff members, Anthony Cacciavillano, and headquartered at Brady's 34th Ward office in West Philadelphia.

The other is Genesis IV, a political-action committee created by Councilwoman Carol Campbell and now run by her brother, Edgar C. Campbell Jr.

Common Pleas Judge Gary Glazer ruled yesterday that both Cacciavillano and Edgar Campbell would have to obey subpoenas from the Ethics Board to provide documents and testimony about their committees.

Among other issues, the Ethics Board is believed to be investigating whether labor unions and other political donors have exceeded the city's contribution limits by sending money to candidates through multiple committees.

The Daily News reported in February that three labor unions that gave maximum $20,000 donations to Brady last year - the Metropolitan Regional Council of Carpenters, Plumbers Union Local 690 and the Washington office of the painters union - also made significant donations to other political organizations supporting Brady.

Unity 2001 was one of the PACs cited by the Daily News.

Nearly all the money that Unity 2001 raised in 2006 - $52,500 out of $56,000 - came from the same three unions that gave maximum donations directly to Brady: the carpenters, the plumbers and the painters.

After raising money from the same sources, Unity 2001 gave another $20,000 to Brady at the end of December.

J. Shane Creamer Jr., interim executive director of the Ethics Board, said it was forced to seek court orders enforcing its subpoenas because Cacciavillano and Edgar Campbell had failed to comply with earlier subpoenas ordering them to provide information last month.

"I want to know more about how these PACs operate," Creamer said.

Neither Cacciavillano nor Edgar Campbell could be reached for comment.

Cacciavillano was represented at yesterday's hearing by attorney J. Scott O'Keefe, a former 34th Ward committeeman who is now chairman of Unity 2001 and also a candidate for Common Pleas Court.

O'Keefe told the Daily News last night that he fought the subpoena because he thought the Ethics Board was engaged in "a fishing expedition." With the court's new order, O'Keefe said, Cacciavillano would talk with the board next week.

A spokeswoman for Brady's campaign, Kate Philips, said Brady would urge Cacciavillano to cooperate.

"Congressman Brady believes that the ethics laws are in place for a reason and they will be complied with," Philips said.

The Ethics Board is also looking at the funding of an organization set up last month to oppose the mayoral candidacy of millionaire businessman Tom Knox.

Alex Talmadge, an attorney for the Economic Justice Coalition for Truth, said yesterday that the group had received an Ethics Board subpoena. "We will provide whatever they want," he said.

The group is also purchasing TV air time to run a 30-second anti-Knox spot produced by Ken Smukler.

He was forced to resign from Brady's congressional campaign committee last week after questions were raised about whether he was improperly working for Brady's mayoral campaign. *