Report: D.A. Seth Williams Discloses $160,150 in Gifts
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams says he received $160,050 in previously unreported gifts between 2010 and 2015.
Williams, who reportedly released the information on Monday, is required by the city to file the personal and professional gifts, which include more than $20,000 in travel expenses, more than $45,000 for a roof repair, and expenses for Phillies, 76ers and Eagles tickets, among other things, according to the Inquirer.
Under Philadelphia Code, “gifts” qualify as a “payment, subscription, advance, forbearance, rendering or deposit of money, services or anything of value, unless consideration of equal or greater value is received.”
If gifts are not a “political contribution otherwise reported as required by law,” city officials are required to report them. Under city ethics rules, officials could pay as much as $1,000 for neglecting to report a gift, according to the Inquirer.
The paper reported that in a statement issued by his 2017 reelection campaign, Williams spoke of the need for transparency and providing “the citizens of Philadelphia with a greater foundation of trust in their elected officials.”
Williams’ attorney, Samuel C. Stretton, told the Inquirer that Williams made a mistake in not filing the gifts throughout the five years. Stretton believes the penalty could be especially harsh if each gift Williams has now reported is penalized individually.
In 2015, the Inquirer reported that Williams is the subject of a federal investigation and that a federal grand jury had subpoenaed his campaign finance records, paying specific attention to his personal expenses.
Stretton told the Inquirer that he’s not representing Williams in any federal matter and is unaware of any such investigation, but added that filing these reports would help him if there were a federal probe.
It’s the latest in what’s been a challenging year for the District Attorney, as Philadelphia magazine’s David Gambacorta reported last month.
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