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.

The Committee of Seventy is joining the call made this week by the Philadelphia Coalition for Affordable Communities for the City Controller to conduct a review of city land sales. Reporting by the Inquirer and Daily News confirm the continuation of City Council’s problematic role in land disposition, a longtime concern for Seventy. Read More...

Filed under: press release

David Thornburgh chats with Jeremy Nowak and Bruce Katz, authors of a new book called "The New Localism." Their thesis: Many American cities have more things going for them than they seem to realize - untapped wealth and assets that could enable them to address many of their challenges.  Read More...

Filed under: 20 by Seventy

The Committee of Seventy is delighted that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court today confirmed what the state’s voters sense whenever they enter the booth to cast votes for Congress: Pennsylvania’s gerrymandered congressional map is rigged to deny them fair, meaningful ballot choices. Read More...

Filed under: press release

But the voice of the people must be heard.  Later this year the Committee of Seventy will launch a statewide public mapping competition called Draw the Lines, which will put in the hands of any Pennsylvanian the same data and digital pens that now only the political operatives control. Read More...
The Committee of Seventy today announced its support of the May 16 ballot question that, if approved, would amend the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter to allow certain city contracts to be awarded through a “best value” process instead of to the “lowest responsible bidder.”  Read More...

Filed under: press release