New Bond Counsel Policy for the Redevelopment Authority

Philadelphia’s Redevelopment Authority has announced a new bond counsel selection policy that the agency hopes will bring some protection from pay-to-play allegations.

Under the new policy, any lawyer who wishes to perform bond-related services for the RDA will have to disclose all political donations — monetary or otherwise — they have made.

The RDA, according to its Web site, is the city’s point agency for financing affordable housing development.

In revealing its new policy, the RDA noted that its bond counsel screening process will go beyond that of the City of Philadelphia, whose transparency regulations haven't always applied to bond counsel. (However, the city has recently started to require disclosure about political donations.)

“The RDA continues to take a leadership role in making our city’s government more accessible, transparent, fair and ethical,” RDA Board Chairman John J. Dougherty said in a statement. “The city’s bond transactions — who received them and how they obtained the work — were at the heart of the initial phase of the ongoing federal corruption probe that has damaged Philadelphia’s national reputation and shaken our citizen’s trust and confidence in this government. … We have sent a message that the ‘old boys’ network’ is off the air at the RDA.”

Is union heavyweight Dougherty looking to give himself some ethics ammo ahead of next year’s mayoral race? The Legal will explore that question among others in print later this week.

— Asher Hawkins , Staff Reporter

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