Two aides to Pennsylvania Rep. Robert A. Brady were charged as part of a larger federal probe of his campaign paying a 2012 primary challenger $90,000 to drop out of the race.
Ken Smukler and Donald “D.A.” Jones are charged with making illegal campaign contributions on Brady’s behalf. The two were also charged with conspiring to hide money in the campaign finance reports of primary challenger Jimmie Moore, a former Philadelphia Municipal Court judge, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
James Eisenhower, Brady’s lawyer, emphasized that the Pennsylvania Democrat, who is also chairman of Philadelphia’s Democratic Party, has not been charged.
“He’s done nothing wrong. He has acknowledged that he agreed to help Moore relieve his campaign debts … and there’s nothing wrong with that,” Eisenhower said.
In September, Moore pled guilty and his ex-fiancee and campaign manager Carolyn Cavaness admitted to falsifying records to the Federal Election Commission.
Moore said in court that he and Brady planned to conceal the source and reasons for the payments, which were meant to help cover the debt Moore incurred by lending his campaign money.
Smukler and Jones intend to fight the charges.
“The government’s effort to demonize …. Mr. Smukler sadly reflects a lack of understanding of [his] integrity and his character,” Smukler’s lawyer Brian McMonagle said.
Both men are charged with five criminal counts — conspiracy, making an illegal contribution, and three charges of falsifying finance reports.
Jones faces an additional charge of making false statements to the FBI about paying Cavaness, but his lawyer Robert Trimble contested that.
“Mr. Jones has, from the initial contact from FBI agents and the government, maintained his innocence through all this,” he said.
Smukler’s home was searched by federal agents earlier this year. He is accused of instructing Cavaness of setting up a consulting firm to receive cash from Brady.