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August 16, 2016

Chancellor Gaetan J. Alfano on District Attorney Seth Williams

In light of the news regarding District Attorney Seth Williams, Gaetan J. Alfano, Chancellor of the 12,000-member Philadelphia Bar Association today issued the following statement:

"The most recent revelation that District Attorney Seth Williams received more than $160,000 in gifts during a five-year period highlights the pressing need for amending the state ethics rules for public officials.

The state law currently allows for the receipt and non-disclosure of gifts from 'friends,' an exception that can be construed so broadly as to defeat the purpose of the ethics rules.

The public could question whether such gifts, especially of this magnitude, were motivated by considerations of political power as opposed to true friendship.

This exception should be completely eliminated to avoid the appearance of impropriety. Otherwise, public confidence in the government and fair administration of the justice system will be unduly compromised."

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