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February 21, 2013

Penn Foundation Resumes Philadelphia Grants

[Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the status of the ethics case against The William Penn Foundation. That case is still pending.]

The William Penn Foundation lifted its moratorium on new spending for Philadelphia municipal programs Wednesday after the city's ethics panel clarified rules concerning grants to city departments and related agencies that had requested the funds, the Philadelphia Daily News reports.

The foundation had suspended new grants for city-backed projects earlier this month while awaiting the panel's decision about whether those grants constituted lobbying.

In a letter to Mayor Michael Nutter, the city Board of Ethics said doing business at the request of municipal agencies did not constitute lobbying and did not require the $2-billion foundation to register as a lobbyist, as the complaint alleged.

In a separate issue, a parents' group filed a complaint with the ethics board arguing that Penn had violated lobbying rules by paying a consulting firm to compile a report for schools officials on financial matters, including school closures.

That complaint is still pending.