By Tony Hanson and Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The former campaign manager for a beleaguered Philadelphia city councilwoman today pleaded guilty to charges he stole about $100,000 from her campaign and political committee account.
Federal prosecutor Paul Gray says John McDaniel has admitted taking more than $100,000 from the campaign account for non-election purposes including his own personal purposes.
In some cases, Gray says, McDaniel simply made withdrawals or wrote checks to himself, “and he also wrote almost $15,000 in checks to ‘Progressive Agenda,’ a political action committee which he maintained for other purposes and then he took the funds from that account.”
McDaniel is a longtime associate and former campaign manager and treasurer for Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown.
Federal authorities have made no allegations against her. In court, Gray referred only to “a councilperson.”
But Philadelphia’s Ethics Board recently fined Reynolds Brown more than $20,000 for campaign finance and ethics violations (see related story). In a statement earlier, she said she takes responsibility for her errors in judgement and for her campaign’s errors.
After her staff was alerted late this morning that reporters would seek comment from her on McDaniel’s guilty plea, Councilwoman Reynolds Brown fled Council chambers before the adjournment of Council’s regular Thursday meeting.