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U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, the longtime head of the city’s Democratic Party, may face an uphill battle in next month’s Democratic mayoral primary, but at least his name will appear on the ballot. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has declined to review a Commonwealth Court panel’s decision that even though the former carpenter’s continued interests in the region’s carpenters’ union’s pension fund amount to income, his failure to identify that income on the statement of financial interest (SFI) he filed with the state after announcing his mayoral candidacy did not constitute a fatal error. The trial judge in In re Nominating Petition of Robert A. Brady had reached the same conclusion. “I’m not the least bit surprised,” Brady’s attorney, Stephen Cozen of Cozen O’Connor in Philadelphia, said of the justices’ holding. The legal challenge to Brady’s mayoral candidacy had been funded by one of Brady’s key opponents, millionaire Tom Knox. Knox attorney Paul Rosen of Spector Gadon & Rosen in Philadelphia said the justices’ decision not to hear the Knox group’s appeal in the case marks the end of their action. “We asked the Supreme Court to explain why the law was being applied differently to Brady than it was to other candidates, because we thought the public needed an explanation,” Rosen said late yesterday. “I imagine the Supreme Court did not agree that the public needed to know why.” In a 13-page, nonprecedential memorandum filed in Brady earlier this month, Commonwealth Court Judge Dan R. Pellegrini honed in on the fact that while the Pennsylvania Ethics Act’s provisions appear to require disclosure of such information, the actual instructions on the backs of the individual SFIs are more specific and contain a range of excepted types of income. Brady attorney Cozen had stressed the apparent discrepancy during oral arguments in the case earlier this month in Harrisburg. During those arguments, Pellegrini and fellow Brady panel member Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer had seemed especially troubled by the fact that Brady had not disclosed on his mayoral bid’s SFI his interest in the carpenters’ union’s pension fund. But they and the third member of the panel, Senior Judge James R. Kelley, let Brady remain on the ballot, though Pellegrini did suggest in his opinion that the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission revise the instructions that appear on the backs of the individual SFIs. A decision Kelley made on his own in another SFI-related ballot challenge has also recently sparked an appeal to the high court. Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board Chief Judge Mike L. Krancer, a leading Republican candidate for state Supreme Court in this year’s elections, had failed to list on his high court bid related SFI revenue generated by investments he made with his wife, as well as a loan for a Mercedes he co-signed with his wife. In his 28-page, nonprecedential memorandum in In re Nomination Petition of Mike L. Krancer, Kelley found that Krancer had been reasonable in concluding that the state’s Ethics Act does not require Pennsylvania’s candidates to list on their SFIs financial information involving them and their spouses jointly. Krancer’s challenger appealed to the Supreme Court. That case became exponentially more interesting when the State Ethics Commission – which administers the system by which Pennsylvania’s would-be public officials disclose personal financial information – filed an amicus brief in Krancer suggesting that the Main Line-born great-nephew of Walter Annenberg should have reported on his SFI any income jointly held with his spouse. As of late yesterday, the justices had not made any rulings with respect to the Krancer appeal. The Ethics Commission had not filed a similar amicus brief in Brady.

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