Philadelphia-area attorney and political consultant Kenneth Smukler has been charged in connection with allegedly helping to funnel a $90,000 payoff that U.S. Rep. Bob Brady’s 2012 congressional campaign made to former Philadelphia Judge Jimmie Moore, who had run against Brady during the primary.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday afternoon that a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging both Smukler, 57, and Donald Jones, 62, for their alleged roles in a “falsification scheme” related to payments made to Moore’s campaign during the 2012 congressional race.
The two were charged with conspiracy, causing unlawful campaign contributions, causing the filing of false reports to the Federal Election Commission and causing false statements to the FEC. Jones was also charged with making false statements to the FBI, the announcement said.
Smukler, a longtime aide to Brady who also worked with former state Attorney General Kathleen Kane, did not return an email seeking comment Tuesday afternoon. A phone number for Smukler said his voicemail was full and no longer accepting messages. Jones did not return a call for comment.
James Eisenhower of Dilworth Paxson, who is representing Brady, said the congressman was saddened by the charges against Smukler and Jones, and added that Brady has done nothing wrong.
“The congressman has not been charged in this indictment and indeed has done nothing wrong. He has long acknowledged that he has helped Judge Moore relieve his campaign debt when Moore dropped out of the race more than five years ago,” Eisenhower said. “There’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing illegal, and it’s commonly done in politics.”
In July, Moore’s former campaign aide, Carolyn Cavaness, pleaded guilty to covering up an alleged scheme to divert money from Brady’s campaign funds to pay Moore.
Although the announcement Tuesday did not name Brady, Moore was the only Democratic challenger running against Brady in the 2012 primary for Pennsylvania’s First Congressional District, for which Brady has been the incumbent for roughly 20 years.
On Oct. 3, Moore also pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FEC regarding the 2012 congressional primary.
According to the announcement, Moore withdrew from the race in February 2012 after an agreement was struck where his opponent allegedly promised to pay $90,000 in campaign funds to repay Moore’s campaign debts. However, the announcement noted that the law does not allow one campaign to contribute more than $2,000 to another during a primary election.
The indictment alleged that Moore instructed Cavaness to create a company whose only purpose was to receive the funds, the announcement said. Those payments, according to the announcement, were routed through Voter Link Data Systems and D. Jones & Associates, which are political consulting companies run by Smukler and Jones.
“The defendants used false invoices to generate a paper trail intended to justify the payments from Moore’s opponent’s campaign committee,” the announcement said.
Max Mitchell can be contacted at 215-557-2354 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MMitchellTLI.