Correction: Congressional Race-Corruption story
By The Associated Press
Oct. 26, 2017
In a story Oct. 24 about the indictment of two political consultants in connection with a Philadelphia congressional race, The Associated Press reported erroneously the charges against Kenneth Smukler. He is accused of violating campaign finance and reporting laws, but he was not charged with lying to FBI agents.
A corrected version of the story is below:
2 consultants for US Rep Bob Brady charged in campaign probe
Two political consultants have been charged in a widening campaign finance probe involving the 2012 re-election of Democratic U.S. Rep Bob Brady
By MICHAEL RUBINKAM
Two political consultants were charged Tuesday in a widening campaign finance probe involving the 2012 re-election of Philadelphia's most powerful congressman, Democrat Bob Brady.
Federal prosecutors in Philadelphia said Kenneth Smukler and Donald Jones helped orchestrate an illegal $90,000 donation to the campaign of a rival candidate meant to induce him to drop out of the race.
Brady, who has served nearly 20 years in the House, denies wrongdoing. He hasn't been charged, though when prosecutors initially brought the case, they said in a court motion that they were worried the congressman might try to influence a witness.
A grand jury indictment said former Philadelphia judge Jimmie Moore agreed to drop out of the 2012 Democratic primary after Brady agreed to help repay his campaign debt.
Since federal law imposes a $2,000 limit on contributions from one political campaign to another, "a $90,000 payment from Moore's opponent's campaign to pay Moore's campaign debts would constitute an unlawful campaign contribution," prosecutors said Tuesday in a news release.
Smukler and Jones helped Moore evade the contribution limit — as well as conceal the fact that Brady's campaign was helping him pay his campaign debt — by routing the campaign money through their consulting companies, generating bogus invoices to create a paper trail, the indictment said.
Smukler, who has long been a fixture in Philadelphia-area Democratic politics, did not immediately return messages from The Associated Press. Jones told the AP he was unaware he'd been indicted. He had no immediate comment.
They both face charges of violating campaign finance and reporting laws. Jones is also accused of making false statements to FBI agents investigating the case.
Brady's lawyer, James Eisenhower, noted the case against Smukler and Jones involves an "excessive campaign contribution" but does not allege bribery or an illegal quid pro quo.
He said Brady has been cooperating with an ongoing Justice Department probe.
"The congressman committed no crime and did nothing wrong here," Eisenhower said. "He has always acknowledged that he agreed to help Judge Moore release some of his campaign debt. There's nothing wrong with that, it's completely legal and common in politics and the congressman abided by the law."
Moore and his campaign manager have already pleaded guilty in the case.