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September 16, 2016

Johnny Doc calls FBI probe 'excessive,' says it 'shocked' him

Philly union leader discusses federal raids in CBS3 interview

Investigations Interviews
Johnny "Doc" Dougherty Kristen De Groot/AP Photo

Johnny "Doc" Dougherty, a Philadelphia union official who runs the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98, walks outside his home Friday, Aug. 5, 2016, in South Philadelphia after FBI agents raided his home. The Inquirer reported Monday that FBI agents had wiretapped the phones of Dougherty and City Councilman Bobby Henon for more than a year.

John Dougherty, head of the IBEW Local 98 electricians union and subject of a recent probe by the FBI, spoke out about the bureau’s ongoing investigation in an interview with CBS3's Ukee Washington that aired Thursday night.

Dougherty's home, the IBEW Local 98 headquarters and the offices of Councilman Bobby Henon, an electrician who once served as the union's political director, were all the subject of FBI raids in early August. Agents descended upon those locations and seized multiple items.

Also known as "Johnny Doc" and considered one of the most powerful political leaders in Philadelphia, Dougherty has expressed almost dismissiveness about the raids in public comments, a trend that continued in his interview with CBS3.

Here are some highlights:

• Dougherty said he was "shocked" when he first found out about the raids. When he started talking about a similar investigation that occurred a decade ago (and didn't lead to criminal charges), Washington reminded him it was the second time in 10 years. "I don't know, could be the third, fourth time or fifth time," Dougherty quipped, before adding, "They got a job to do, and I understand that."

• He thought the whole raid was a bit much. Per CBS3: “The crime tape around the house and around the union hall, a little excessive. The byline on the news articles, if you know anything about this guy, a little excessive." In regards to the "byline," Dougherty is referring to a brief FBI statement that asked for anyone with information relevant to the case to call them.

• The FBI has not revealed the reason for its investigation. However, a source told the Inquirer that the focus is on the union's contributions to the political campaigns of Mayor Jim Kenney and state Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dougherty, who is John Dougherty's brother, as well as Dougherty's personal finances. "We have quarterly financial reviews," Dougherty told CBS3. "We have monthly membership approvals of everything we do. We have a compliance program that we report everything in a timely and transparent manner."

• Finally, easily the best quote of the interview. When asked about his influence on Philly politics: "I play with the tools; I don't break any laws."

You can watch the whole interview below: