Rep. Robert A. Brady’s political lifeline received a jolt Monday after the statute of limitations expired on many of the charges he could have faced for a 2012 payoff case.
In recent months, two Brady aides and a former political rival were handed down indictments stemming from the case.
Justice Department lawyers allowed a series of agreements Brady had signed extending the five-year window in which he could be charged to expire on Sunday, sources told the Philadelphia Inquirer. Those extensions allowed the FBI to continue to investigate Brady but also gave Brady’s lawyers more time to convince investigators the Pennsylvania Democrat had done nothing wrong.
“We’ve always maintained that the congressman had done nothing wrong,” Brady’s attorney James Eisenhower told the Enquirer Tuesday. “The congressman had cooperated fully with the Justice Department investigation and gave them extra time to consider all the arguments.”
With the statute of limitations expired, Brady can no longer be charged with wire fraud or making an illegal campaign contribution. But investigators still have time indict him — if they choose — for lying to the FBI and filing a false campaign finance report in January 2013.
Earlier this month, the FBI began combing through Brady’s emails to see if he led a conspiracy to pay off a challenger to drop out of the Democratic primary in his district in 2012.
The bureau has accused the longtime lawmaker of leading a scheme to conceal a $90,000 payment to Jimmie Moore, a former Philadelphia Municipal Court judge. Moore has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with authorities. The email search marked the first time Brady himself had been personally investigated.
Two of Brady’s aides, Ken Smukler and Donald “D.A.” Jones, were charged last month with making illegal campaign contributions on the congressman's behalf. The two were also charged with conspiring to hide money in Moore’s campaign finance reports. The $90,000 was allegedly funneled from Brady’s campaign fund, through a third party polling firm, to Moore’s campaign.
Watch: An Inside Look at Congressional Retirements
Moore’s 2012 campaign manager, Carolyn Cavaness, admitted in July to falsifying records to the Federal Elections Commission as part of her role in the money transfer from Brady’s campaign to Moore.
It still remains unclear why Brady may have felt he needed Moore to drop from the race.
At the time of the alleged transaction, Moore had less than $5,000 in his war chest, while Brady sat on a mound upwards of $750,000.
Brady is in his 10th term in the House and is the ranking member on the administrative committee that oversees settlement payments in Congress, including for sexual assault.