John D. McDaniel, a political operative who pleaded guilty to stealing more than $100,000 from the campaign of City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, was sentenced Tuesday to a year and a day in federal prison.
U.S. District Judge Mary A. McLaughlin said she was sympathetic to requests from McDaniel's wife, pastor, and attorney that he be spared jail time in favor of home incarceration.
But she said it was important to provide a prison sentence as a deterrent to others.
"People who act in the political arena, who have positions of trust, must know that if they abuse it, there will be serious consequences," McLaughlin said.
McDaniel, 41, was ordered to report July 15 to a facility designated by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. The judge agreed to a defense request for an assignment as close as possible to Philadelphia, where McDaniel and his wife have an 11-year-old daughter.
The sentence of 366 days allows McDaniel to earn time off, which could cut about 50 days from his time. Sentences of a year or less do not qualify for good-behavior reductions.
Once his prison sentence is over, McDaniel will face two additional years of supervised release, reporting monthly on his income and activities, and restitution totaling $103,650, the amount he admitted stealing from Brown's campaign and from another political committee in 2010 and 2011.
McDaniels pleaded guilty in February to wire fraud. He was fired from an $87,000-a-year patronage job at Philadelphia International Airport - provided to him after a personal meeting with Mayor Nutter - after the city's Board of Ethics reported widespread irregularities in the campaign-finance reports he had prepared for Brown.
Prosecutors said McDaniel wrote checks from the Brown campaign to himself and to Progressive Agenda, another PAC he controlled, and then took money from that committee.
He hid the fraud by filing false campaign-finance reports.
Brown herself has not been charged with any crimes, but the federal investigation is continuing. She acknowledged to the Ethics Board that she had used campaign money to repay a personal $3,300 loan from Chaka "Chip" Fattah Jr., the son of the congressman, who has been Brown's political mentor.
Brown has described the loan repayment as an isolated lapse in judgment, when she was fighting to save her home from foreclosure during a separation from her husband.
McDaniel's attorney, Charles M. Gibbs, said his client had cooperated with government prosecutors on other investigations, but he declined to provide further details.