Three City Council staff members have been fined for helping their boss, Councilman David Oh, raise money for his 2015 reelection bid, often on city time.
The employees will pay a total of $3,300 in fines for purchasing campaign billboards, booking venues and caterers, and writing thank-you letters to donors, among other tasks deemed off-limits under the city's ethics law.
The agreement between the ethics board and Oh's staff, released Tuesday, describes the councilman's involvement in some on-duty fund-raising efforts, including on multiple occasions handing checks from campaign contributors to his office manager in City Hall.
Asked if Oh, too, would face a penalty, Philadelphia Board of Ethics executive director Shane Creamer said in an email, "I cannot comment on Councilman Oh's conduct in this matter."
The city's ethics rules allow City Hall staff to work on political campaigns, but only on limited tasks. Campaign activities such as voter-engagement efforts are allowed outside office hours. But fund-raising is banned even after hours.
Oh and his employees - office manager and director of constituent services Donald Tippett; director of policy and international affairs Lois Kang; and chief of staff William Stewart Graham - did not return requests for comment.
According to the Ethics Board settlements, the employees helped in multiple fund-raising efforts, some on city time and using city computers. Among the examples:
Tippett used his city computer to discuss the costs, design, and location of campaign billboards. He has been fined $900.
Kang helped organize host committees for three fund-raisers, then did other tasks for those events including compiling RSVPs, booking vendors, and attending organizational meetings. She was fined $1,500
Graham also helped prepare for fund-raisers including printing and mailing fliers, envelopes, reply cards, and solicitation letters. He also spoke at one event. He was fined $900.
The violations took place last year as Oh was locked in a difficult reelection bid, vying for one of the two Council seats reserved for Republicans.
Oh has already been fined $2,000 by the Ethics Board for illegal campaign activities during that race.
In August 2015, the Ethics Board said Oh had orchestrated an illegal pass-through contribution when a donor offered to give beyond what the city's campaign limits allowed. Instead of turning the man away, Oh told him to give the money to another political committee, which then funneled the money to Oh's coffers.
At the time, Oh said he misunderstood the city's campaign finance law.