Politics

Investigators Accuse Brady of Concealing Bribe to Primary Challenger

FBI officials combed through Pennsylvania Democrat’s emails to assess his role in payoff scheme

Pennsylvania Rep. Robert A. Brady has been accused by the FBI of leading a scheme to conceal a bribe payment to a onetime Democratic challenger. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The FBI is combing through Pennsylvania Rep. Robert A. 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 marks the first time Brady himself has been personally investigated.

The claim against the congressman was contained in a Nov. 1 search warrant affidavit released Friday that allowed investigators to sift through evidence on Brady’s campaign email, bobcongress@aol.com.

Brady could be charged with wire fraud, lying to the FBI and making an illegal campaign contribution, according to the affidavit.

Two of Brady’s aides, Ken Smukler and Donald “D.A.” Jones, were charged last month with making illegal campaign contributions on his 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.

“The investigation has uncovered evidence which indicates that Brady, Smukler and Jones utilized Smukler’s and D.A. Jones’ corporations to conceal payments from Brady’s campaign … for Moore to withdraw from the 2012 Democratic primary race,” FBI Special Agent Jonathan R. Szeliga wrote in the affidavit.

Brady has adamantly denied through lawyers and spokespeople that he did anything wrong. His camp maintains he paid the polling firm $90,000 for exclusive rights to its data, a claim the FBI has called false.

Brady’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

It remains unclear why the congressman may have felt he needed Moore to drop from the 2012 race.

At the time of the alleged transaction, Moore had less than $5,000 in his war chest, while Brady, a long-tenured incumbent, sat on a mound upward of $750,000.

Brady is in his 10th term in the House and is the ranking member on the Administration Committee, which oversees settlement payments in Congress, including for sexual assault.

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