NEWSLETTER SIGNUP

By signing up to our newsletter, you agree to our terms.

Philly Corruption All-Stars (1970s)

"I'm going to steal every vote I can"

Our corrupt culture is unique, and it’s easy to forget that when you’re in the throes of the latest scandal. That’s why, beginning today, we’re publishing our Philly Corruption All-Stars, baseball card-like profiles of the best—er, worst—practitioners of political black arts, Philly-style. Though we’re committed to being a constructive force for making the city better, we think these cards are necessary to hammer home an important point: We have a longstanding cultural issue before us.

We’re publishing our All-Stars by decade—today, we zero in on the 1970s—and at the end we’ll provide you with a link to a PDF version, so you can print the cards out and trade them with your friends.

Of course, we’re having fun with this, but it’s really no laughing matter. Our research for these tongue in cheek posts shows that things have gotten worse, not better. Just think of recent history, and the respective falls of Seth Williams, Kathleen Kane, Chakah Fattah, and Rob McCord—to just name a few. The culture is alive. The virus is spreading.

Here at The Citizen, we’re always looking for solutions. This time, it’s not so complicated: We need good men and women among us to demand better of those we hire to represent us.

99

Henry J. "Buddy" Cianfrani

Pennsylvania Senate

Henry J. "Buddy" Cianfrani

Pennsylvania Senate

(1967 – 1977)

Corruption charge: Cianfrani was charged with racketeering, bribery, and obstruction of justice, including paying "ghost employees" in his office.

Outcome: Cianfrani was convicted and sentenced to 5 years in federal prison. He only served 28 months.

Cianfrani was a shameless rogue. “I’m going to steal every vote I can,” he once said. “I’m going to buy every vote I can. That’s the kind of guy I am.” Even when he knew he was being investigated, he was unrepentant. In 1975, he said about special prosecutor Walter Phillips, “If he can’t get anything on me, what kind of an investigator is he?”

99

Herbert Fineman

Pennsylvania House Speaker

Herbert Fineman

Pennsylvania House Speaker

(1969 – 1977)

Corruption charge: Obstruction of justice relating to a grand jury investigation of alleged payoffs to politicians

Outcome: Convicted; although he appealed his case all the way to the US Supreme Court, he ultimately lost and served a prison sentence

In an effort to avoid conviction, Fineman—who claimed "self-serving zealots" fueled the investigation—founded FREE, an organization to help returning citizens find jobs. No word if he utilized their services when he completed his sentence.

99

Matthew Cianciulli

Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Matthew Cianciulli

Pennsylvania House of Representatives

(1977 – 1979)

Corruption charge: Charged with conspiring to encourage people to give false address in voter registration forms.

Outcome: He was convicted and sentenced to three years in federal prison.

"Matt was the personification of the grass roots Italian politician. He was always doing favors for people," said James J. Tayoun, a former state representative and City Council member—before his own imprisonment on corruption charges.

99

Joshua Eilberg

U.S. House of Representatives

Joshua Eilberg

U.S. House of Representatives

(1967 – 1979)

Corruption charge: Conflict of interest. While a Congressman, Eilberg was investigated for money he received in connection to a federal contract awarded to Hahneman Hospital. Eilberg, in turn, called Jimmy Carter's White House, which then had the investigating U.S. Attorney, David Marston, fired.

Outcome: Pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to five years of probation and a $10,000 fine.

Eilberg described his misdeeds thusly: "I want to say very emphatically that what we’re accused of here is really bookkeeping irregularities." Before his corruption was uncovered, Eilberg ran against, and defeated, a young Chris Matthews—now an MSNBC host—in the Democratic primary. Even decades later, Eilberg never forgave Matthews for his campaign.

The Philadelphia Citizen will only publish thoughtful, civil posts. We want to be a communal space. But that doesn’t mean you have a First Amendment right to be an idiot. Send us an insulting, offensive and/or wildly off-topic comment and not only will we refrain from posting it -- we will laugh at you before we hit delete.

Recent Tweets
@THEPHILACITIZEN

@thephilacitizen @@thephilacitizen
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
People can say that charters aren’t doing better than District schools because in fact, a lot of them aren’t. https://t.co/l7iRlupWvz 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
A festival on a two-acre farm in North Philadelphia, created on the site of a former dump. https://t.co/KslBGcpaMZ 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
Looking for fun in the city this Independence Day? Via @visitphilly https://t.co/UvrPIu3u17 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
Our Civic DISRUPTORS are shaking up the city! Meet them and their mentors July 13. Not a Member? Join Now! #Philly https://t.co/PHqnFGpDl6 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
June 27th is National #HIVTestingDay. Follow the link & enter your zip code to find an HIV testing center near you. https://t.co/LWR71MASYG 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
"The % of released inmates who commit new crimes or are sent back to prison for parole violations is over 60%. " https://t.co/Wb5uxU4EcI 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
@phillyhomeless Great news! Citizens, non-profits and entrepreneurs coming together for the greater good is the Phi… https://t.co/m8xUH6ddml 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
"Let the mother's run the world." We sat down with local education philanthropist Evie McNiff to discuss education.… https://t.co/ScxIAWmQrU 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
June is Reentry Awareness Month in Philadelphia. https://t.co/0VLJx28MCb 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
A groundbreaking Museum of Art exhibit takes art to the streets, combining it with advocacy. #Philaassembledhttps://t.co/PnplIUNrzY 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
Our weekly Do Something guide is your go-to source for civic engagement every week in #Philadelphia. https://t.co/tslCZp6PZD 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
"My theory is that we have to reform our criminal justice system while still being tough on criminals." https://t.co/dxz8A0uh5C 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
@ellisonreport offers a reality check on state plans to expand gaming and privatize liquor sales in the city. https://t.co/SFIX69lOa6 

LOAD MORE

Be a Citizen Editor

Suggest a Story