Former congressional aide convicted over unlawful campaign contributions

Ken Smukler, a former campaign strategist for retiring Rep. Robert Brady (D-Pa.), was convicted on Monday of conspiring to violate campaign finance laws in a scheme to pay a Democratic challenger $90,000 to drop out of a 2012 congressional race. 

Smukler was convicted on nine counts, including charges of making and concealing illegal campaign contributions in two primary elections and of obstructing justice in an investigation by the Federal Election Commission (FEC). 

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“Smukler was the mastermind of multiple crooked political schemes,” said U.S. Attorney William McSwain in a statement. “He showed a true pattern of deception by misusing funds and lying to corrupt the entire political process."

"The only way to guarantee open and fair elections is to have everyone play by the same rules," McSwain added. "Smukler ignored those rules and broke the law so that his candidates could try to win at all costs. We are grateful that the jury saw through his lies and held him accountable for his widespread criminal conduct.”

Witnesses throughout Smuker's trial have said that the political operative conspired with Brady and another aide to donate $90,000 to former Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Jimmie Moore, who was challenging Brady in the Democratic primary, as reported by Roll Call. The money was intended as a bribe to get Moore to drop out of the race.  

Though Brady has been heavily implicated in the scheme Smukler was found guilty of participating in, litigators last year said the statute of limitations had run out on the charges against him.  

Brady in January announced that he will not seek a 12the term in Congress, citing a desire to spend more time with his family.