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City Ethics Board To Review Lobbying Complaints Against William Penn Foundation

By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Several groups have filed a formal complaint, saying a privately-funded consultant’s report for the Philadelphia school district amounted to lobbying.

The complaint by two parent groups and the NAACP says the William Penn Foundation should have registered with the city as a lobbbyist, because its funding of the Boston Consulting Group report that recommended downsizing district management and closing dozens of district schools constituted lobbying the School Reform Commission.

“To gain private audience and private favor with leading decision makers and call that philanthropy, well we think that needs to have a judgment call,” Helen Gym with Parents United for Public Education said. “We don’t think that that’s what that is. It looks like and feels like it’s something very different. And it feels like it’s lobbying.”

The city ethics board will review the complaint. A spokesman for the school district says the district, not William Penn, commissioned the BCG report.

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