Philly congressman’s aide faces new charges

Philadelphia political consultant Ken Smukler has been charged with campaign finance violations in connection with his work on Marjorie Margolies' 2014 congressional campaign..  Smukler is facing an April trial on previous charges of campaign improprieties. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Philadelphia political consultant Ken Smukler has been charged with campaign finance violations in connection with his work on Marjorie Margolies' 2014 congressional campaign.. Smukler is facing an April trial on previous charges of campaign improprieties. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

New federal charges have been filed against a Philadelphia political consultant associated with U.S. Rep. Bob Brady.

Ken Smukler already faces an April trial on allegations that he helped cover up a deal to get an opponent out of Brady’s 2012 congressional primary.

The new charges relate to the 2014 congressional campaign Smukler managed for Marjorie Margolies, a former congresswoman who sought to capture the Democratic nomination for a Montgomery County seat that included parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery County.

In the course of the race, a rival candidate, Pennsylvania Sen. Daylin Leach accused the Margolies campaign of spending money raised for the general election campaign on primary election expenses, a violation of federal law.

Leach filed a formal complaint with the Federal Election Commission.

Margolies lost the primary election, and prosecutors now charge that in an effort to avoid penalties from the Federal Election Commission complaint, Smukler secured some large, illegal, post-election contributions from associates of his — then falsely presented them as general election cash reserves that could be refunded to the campaign.

Prosecutors say he caused the Margolies campaign to file false campaign finance reports about those transactions.

The FEC, however, found no campaign finance violations on the part of the Margolies campaign.

Reached by phone, Margolies said she was unaware of the new charges against Smukler and had no comment.

Neither Smukler nor his attorney responded to requests for comment.

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