A Democratic congressman suspected of bribery in an election campaign is now part of an FBI campaign finance probe.
Rep. Bob Brady is under investigation for allegedly making and concealing a payment of $90,000 to his political opponent in a 2012 primary race in order to get his rival to drop out, CBS News reported.
Unsealed court documents that were made public Monday confirmed that the FBI issued a search warrant and obtained data from the Philadelphia Democrat’s email account, though no charges have yet been brought against him.
“The congressman has not been charged and we have not been informed that he’s even a target,” his attorney, James Eisenhower, said noting that Brady already gave the emails to authorities and has done nothing wrong.
The primary opponent and a former aide pleaded guilty to concealing the payment and two political consultants have already been charged following the investigation.
The search warrant application, written by FBI special agent Jonathan Szeliga, said he had “probable cause to believe that Kenneth Smukler, Robert Brady, Donald ‘D.A.’ Jones, Jimmie Moore, and Carolyn Cavaness and others known and unknown have committed violations,” according to CBS News.
Conspiracy, false statements, false campaign contribution reports and limits on campaign contributions and expenditures were among the violations. According to federal prosecutors, Smukler and Jones devised the plan for Brady’s campaign to make the $90,0000 donation to Jimmie Moore, with the alleged intention of paying down campaign debt.
“The investigation has uncovered evidence which indicates that Brady, Smuckler, and Jones utilized Smukler’s and D.A. Jones’ corporations to conceal payments from Brady’s campaign to repay Moore campaign debts in exchange for Moore’s agreements to withdraw from the 2012 Democratic primary race against Brady for U.S. Representative in Pennsylvania’s 1st District,” Szeliga wrote in the search warrant application.
“The evidence shows that these concealed payments were made for the purpose of removing Brady’s primary opponent from the race and willfully undermining various provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) in the process,” the application noted, according to CBS News. “As discussed in detail below, these goals were accomplished by routing three payments totaling $90,000 from Brady’s campaign through political consulting companies to the campaign manager for Moore’s campaign, who used a portion of the funds to pay debts owned by the Moore campaign, keeping the remainder of the money for herself and Moore.”
Brady has been the ranking Democrat on the House Administration Committee since 2007.
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