The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the city’s Democratic Party hosted a breakfast this week at which 27 area judges were asked to donate $10,000 each or lose party support in upcoming judicial retention elections.
According to the article, Philadelphia judges have been asked in recent years to contribute increasing amounts to the party organization. U.S. Rep. Bob Brady (photo), who was present at the luncheon but left the room before the financial ask, denied knowledge of the allegations:
“I don’t know what was said at the meeting, because I wasn’t there. But I told [Family Court President Judge] Kevin Dougherty and the other judges, whatever they can do in terms of fund-raising is fine. The Democratic Party, for the 25 years I’ve been there, has never endorsed or unendorsed anybody for monetary reasons. . . . A good-faith effort, that’s what the party asks.”
Others described a more aggressive appeal. One of the attendees is reported to have likened the situation to the film Godfather II. The chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association, Rudolph Garcia, expressed outrage at the alleged pay-to-play, pointing out that the cost of judicial retention elections were nowhere near the demanded $10,000 per judge.