Henon Goes Three Weeks Without Answering a Question About the FBI Raid
A reporter’s worst fear is being called “silly” by an anonymous PR flack. So when that nightmare came to pass this morning after Billy Penn posted a column by an unnamed “political communications professional” criticizing our recent articles pointing out that City Councilman Bobby Henon has yet to answer any questions about the FBI raid on his offices three weeks ago, we had to pause and do some serious soul-searching.
Fortunately, that didn’t take very long. And Councilman Henon’s office once again didn’t respond to questions or a request for an interview that we sent this morning.
The nameless, faceless professional argued in their column Friday that Henon doesn’t have much to gain from giving interviews about the matter. But there’s an extra sort of volume to his silence about the FBI raids that goes beyond the standard non-commenting that other officials have been doing in the face of questions about their conduct. The anony-flack compares Henon to District Attorney Seth Williams, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and labor leader John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty, who have all reportedly come under the scrutiny of the FBI, and says they’re all smart to keep quiet. But the others have actually been a bit more forthcoming, while Henon has been totally silent. That’s why we’re focusing on him.
After acknowledging that he’d accepted and failed to report some truly bizarre gifts over the last few years, Williams sent an email to his staff accepting responsibility for the bad publicity. He also talked at length with Philadelphia magazine for a profile, and later admitted publicly that the FBI had interviewed his staff in connection with an investigation of his campaign finances.
Johnson provided a long (if not entirely satisfying) statement after the Inquirer dug into a pattern of questionable land sales in his district. (The Inquirer reported that the FBI is examining Johnson’s campaign contributions “in what sources say appears to be an investigation into ‘pay-to-play’ over sales of vacant lots and Johnson’s support for zoning variances.”)
After the feds searched Henon’s offices three weeks ago, a spokeswoman for Mayor Jim Kenney, whose office wasn’t raided, quickly announced that neither Kenney nor anyone in the administration had been interviewed by the FBI. Even Dougherty, who has never been elected to public office, chatted with reporters while FBI agents ransacked his house (on the same day they surveyed Henon’s offices), and later sent a message to his union members describing what he knows about the investigation.
Henon seems to be simply living in a world in which the whole affair doesn’t exist. He’s still tweeting about all sorts of other stuff.
— Bobby Henon (@BobbyHenon) August 26, 2016
You know, the Citizens Planning Institute is actually a pretty righteous program, and it’s cool that Henon is offering scholarships for his constituents. He was the first Council member to do that.
But man, your offices were raided the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Nothing to say about that?
Follow @JaredBrey on Twitter.