Seventy was established in 1904 for the express purpose of combating corruption in Philadelphia. We played a major role in the adaptation of civil-service reform and the passage of the 1919 and 1951 Home Rule Charters.

In this century, Seventy led the fight to defend campaign finance limits, a fight that went all the way to the Supreme Court, thanks to a lawsuit we initiated. Our battle against pay-to-play politics in Philadelphia helped turn the ideas of better government and fair elections into a movement. Most recently, Seventy has called for the elimination of the elected City Commissioners, antiquated "row" offices which we called attention to in a 2009 Needless Jobs report. The outmoded and opaque Clerk of Quarter Sessions, also targeded in the report, was abolished in 2010.

Seventy also championed the creation of the city’s Ethics Board and the enactment of a lobbyist registration and disclosure law. And our constant criticism of ultra-rich DROP pension payouts to elected city officials resulted in wholesale turnover in City Council in the next election and a change in state law.

Seventy welcomes thoughts, questions and concerns from the city’s business, civic and elected leaders on a proposal for the city to shift to "best value" procurement. The feedback will help determine Seventy’s position the ballot question facing voters on May 16, 2017. Read More...
David Thornburgh talks about how Seventy will heed the call for political renewal (including a campaign against gerrymandering), Alison Perelman of Philadelphia 3.0 discusses the effort to recruit millenials into the trenches of local politics, and an expert on called "ranked-choice voting" explains how it could transform the status quo. Read More...

Filed under: 20 by Seventy

Amid the rubble of this Presidential campaign, here in Philadelphia we must rebuild from the ground up, engaging our young people (especially) in pursuit of an ethical political culture and an approach to effective governance that, ominously, they have never seen for themselves. Read More...
Seventy President David Thornburgh submitted written comments urging the House State Government Committee to consider creating an independent and impartial citizen commission to restore faith and transparency to the decennial redistricting process. Read More...

Filed under: testimony

A diverse coalition of a dozen civic and community organizations known as the Better Philadelphia Elections Coalition (BPEC) today urged City Council to replace the elected City Commissioners with appointed professionals to provide the leadership necessary to modernize Philadelphia’s elections.  Read More...

Filed under: press release