Despite the enormous amount of coverage devoted to the fall of former Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams on this website – and, for that matter, on pretty much every other media outlet in the commonwealth – his case needs to be written about one more time. After being sentenced to five years in federal prison for on corruption charges, just a couple lines under the L banner isn’t enough to do his transgressions justice.
No doubt, Williams is the biggest loser of the week, possibly even the year: even without the five-year sentence and the five-figure fine, his blithely transactional approach to the office and serial mendacity about his systematic destruction of said office’s integrity likely destroyed any chance Williams had of enjoying an upward career trajectory – or, indeed, any trajectory at all. Based on ample past political precedent, though, a second act can’t be ruled out.
But Williams brought that on himself. The true losers of this tragedy are the countless people who became collateral damage to his debasement of the DAO: staffers; volunteers for his campaigns and his Second Chance charity; and the voters of Philadelphia who thought they were getting a tabula rasa to rethink and revolutionize the DAO.
There aren’t enough years to add to his sentence to mitigate that pain and suffering. Philadelphia deserved better.
Holly Kinser: In the continuing aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment/abuse scandal, Kinser, a longtime Philadelphia-based lobbyist, forcefully called out Harrisburg’s culture of sexual harassment and misconduct by highlighting her own experiences in the Capitol.
Philadelphia Eagles: In addition to their best-in-the-NFL record, players Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long and Torrey Smith landed at the Capitol, where they got a warm reception from lawmakers, to talk about the need for criminal justice reform.
Josh Shapiro: The AG delivered another financial windfall to the state, this time to the tune of $6.3 million as part of a settlement he and 42 other attorneys general negotiated with Deutsche Bank over interest rate manipulation.
Ken Smukler and Donald “D.A.” Jones: The two political strategists for Congressman Bob Brady were charged with making illegal campaign contributions as part of the continuing fallout over a $90,000 payment the Brady campaign made to get 2012 primary challenger Jimmie Moore to drop out of the race.
Gregory Floyd: As the IRS’ top man in Philadelphia, Floyd was instrumental in putting away Seth Williams. This week, he himself was arrested and charged with second-degree sexual abuse.
Kevin Haggerty: the state Rep. finds himself in this column once again, this time for missing at least 145 roll call votes since the House returned to the Capitol in September from its summer break. In his defense, he did email in a request for a leave of absence every day the House was in session.