Smukler found guilty of campaign finance law violation

Steve Tawa
December 03, 2018 - 2:18 pm
Congressman Bob Brady's longtime political advisor, Ken Smukler was convicted by a federal court jury on 9 of 11 counts at his campaign finance law violation trial.

Steve Tawa/KYW Newsradio

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UPDATED: 5:35 p.m. 

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Congressman Bob Brady's longtime political advisor, Ken Smukler, was convicted by a federal court jury on 9 of 11 counts at his campaign finance law violation trial. Although the schemes dealt with Brady's 2012 re-election and Marjorie Margolies' 2014 bid for Congress, neither of them were charged. 

After the judge thumbed through the 5-page verdict sheet, the jury foreman rose, as did other jurors, and the panel convicted Smukler on most counts. 

Federal prosecutor Eric Gibson was asked why Brady was not charged, or called to testify, since Brady ordered the purchase of a poll of a rival candidate, Jimmie Moore, for $90,000. 

"I can't speak to internal deliberations, or what evidence was not presented in court, if in fact there was evidence that was not presented in court," he said. 

Prosecutors contend Moore was paid to drop out of the race. When Smukler testified, he told jurors "at no point, then or now," did he consider it an illegal contribution to Moore.

Paul, the self-employed jury foreman, told KYW Newsradio outside the courthouse as they went through each element in the superceding indictment, "one juror would remember something, and then another would correct or modify." 

"They were a great, sharp group of people. They really followed the law,'" he said. 

Moore pleaded guilty to filing a false campaign report to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Moore's campaign manager, Carolyn Cavaness, also pleaded guilty to making a false statement. A second top political aide to Brady, Donald Jones, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. They testified in an attempt to get reduced sentences.

The jury foreman says their guilty pleas had no influence on deliberations.

"It was the testimony that they gave. And there was so much other documentation backup to confirm what they were saying," he said. 

Smukler was also found guilty of concealing illegal contributions in Marjorie Margolies' unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 2014. When FBI agents raided Smukler's home in 2017, Smukler repeatedly told the agents that he consulted with a lawyer, a former Federal Elections Commission (FEC) chairman, who assured him the Margolies campaign moves were legal.

Margolies was granted immunity from prosecution, and testified during the trial.

Smukler will be sentenced in March.