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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Two Indicted For Conspiring To Cause False Statements To The Federal Election Commission

Philadelphia – A federal grand jury returned an indictment today charging two Philadelphia-area political consultants with conspiracy, causing unlawful campaign contributions, causing the filing of false reports to the Federal Election Commission, causing false statements to the Federal Election Commission and making false statements to the FBI. 

 

Acting U.S. Attorney Louis D. Lappen for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division made the announcement.

 

According to the indictment, Donald Jones, 62, and Kenneth Smukler, 57, caused unlawful campaign contributions and engaged in a falsification scheme involving those contributions to the campaign of a candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination for Member of the U.S. House of Representatives.  According to the indictment, those payments came from the campaign committee of a candidate for the purpose of removing that candidate’s opponent, former Municipal Court Judge Jimmie Moore, from the 2012 Democratic race for Pennsylvania’s First Congressional District.  Moore pleaded guilty to the charge of causing false statements to the FEC in connection with this matter on Oct. 2.

 

As alleged in the indictment, in or about February 2012, Moore withdrew from the primary election pursuant to an agreement with his opponent, who promised $90,000 in campaign funds to be used to repay Moore’s campaign debts.  Under the applicable law, a contribution from one authorized campaign to another could not exceed $2,000 for the primary election.  Therefore, a $90,000 payment from Moore’s opponent’s campaign to pay Moore’s campaign debts would constitute an unlawful campaign contribution.  Moreover, because the FEC requires campaigns to file periodic reports itemizing the campaign’s contributions and expenditures during the reporting period, that unlawful campaign contribution should appear on the FEC reports filed by both campaigns.

 

According to the indictment, in order to conceal the unlawful contribution, as well as the fact that his opponent’s campaign committee paid his campaign debts, Moore instructed his campaign manager, Carolyn Cavaness, to create a company whose sole purpose would be to receive the funds from his opponent’s political campaign and repay Moore’s campaign debts.  As described in the indictment, those payments were routed through Voter Link Data Systems and D. Jones & Associates, political consulting companies run by Smukler and Jones.  According to the indictment, the defendants used false invoices to generate a paper trail intended to justify the payments from Moore’s opponent’s campaign committee.  Cavaness pleaded guilty to the charge of causing false statements to the FEC in connection with this matter on July 25.

 

According to the indictment, Cavaness, acting at Moore’s direction, used a portion of the money from the opponent’s campaign committee to repay Moore’s campaign debts, including debts to Moore and Cavaness themselves.  According to the indictment, by causing Moore’s opponent’s campaign to make these payments, the defendants willfully caused the opponent’s campaign to make unlawful campaign contributions. 

 

In addition, true and accurate information about the payments was never disclosed to the FEC.  Instead, according to the indictment, the defendants willfully caused Moore’s campaign committee to file false reports with the FEC that did not disclose or reference the funds received from his opponent’s campaign committee, did not mention the companies of the political consultants through which the payments were routed, Voter Link and D. Jones & Associates, and falsely listed the same debts owed by Moore’s campaign that had been disclosed on earlier reports, despite the fact that those debts had been repaid using funds from Moore’s opponent’s campaign committee.  According to the indictment, the defendants also willfully caused the opponent’s campaign committee to file false reports with the FEC that did not mention the use of campaign funds to repay Moore’s campaign debts.  Finally, the indictment alleges that Jones made material false statements to FBI agents investigating this matter, telling them that Cavaness had performed work in exchange for the opponent’s campaign funds that were routed through D. Jones & Associates, when in fact Cavaness never performed any such work.

 

An indictment is not a finding of guilt.  It merely alleges that crimes have been committed.  A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

 

Acting U.S. Attorney Lappen and Acting Assistant Attorney General Blanco commended special agents of the FBI, who conducted the investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Gibson and Trial Attorney Jonathan Kravis of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, who are prosecuting the case.

Topic(s): 
Public Corruption
Updated October 24, 2017