By Marcyclaire Dale, Associated Press
Union carpenter Bob Brady has spent 30 years running Philadelphia”s Democratic machine, and 20 years in Congress, watching a string of local party leaders go to prison.
A Justice Department memo in a brewing criminal case hints at the way he wields power.
Brady”s camp gave a city judge who challenged him in the 2012 primary $90,000 to quit the race, according to the plea memo, unsealed Wednesday after the judge”s campaign aide pleaded guilty to breaking campaign finance laws. And Brady himself tried to “influence” a witness in the case, according to prosecutors, who said they filed the case under seal for fear he would “corrupt(ly)” pressure the aide not to cooperate.
Corruption cases large and small have dogged Philadelphia Democrats during Brady”s tenure as party boss.
Eleven-term congressman Chaka Fattah and his son are both in federal prison for improperly enriching themselves with public or private funds. Two-term District Attorney Seth Williams awaits sentencing for living beyond his means with help from friends seeking favors.
Former statehouse powerbroker Vincent Fumo served more than four years in prison for using state senate funds or — in his words — “OPM,” or “other people”s money,” to renovate his mansion, commander museum yachts and to spy on his ex-wife. By one press account, more than 30 Philadelphia Democrats have been investigated since 2000 — with barely a peep from the boss.
Brady”s lawyer bristles at talk his client should be tarred by the lapses. Brady is “damned if he does and damned if he doesn”t” when it comes to managing the slate of candidates, lawyer James Eisenhower said.
“If he could say who could run, they”d say he”s an old-fashioned party boss. With a modern party boss, … candidates run and win independent of the party chair. Then they say he”s not exercising enough oversight,” Eisenhower said.
He denies that Brady tried to obstruct the FBI probe of the money Brady”s campaign gave Judge Jimmie Moore in 2012, noting that candidates routinely swallow up the campaign debt of vanquished foes for the sake of party unity.
Rest is here.
October 2023 Updates:
I have written quite a lot about municipal corruption in Philadelphia, generally, and about Bob Brady, specifically.
I posted a thread on X/Twitter on October 8, 2023 detailing the remarkable October 8, 2003 events surrounding the discovery of a massive years-long FBI probe into municipal corruption (and the manner in which the media misled the public) here.
Here is an October 16, 2023 Philadelphia Inquirer article revisiting the 2003 scandal.
Earlier analyses on this site about these events, complete with my exclusive information are below:
Lastly, I of course devote a lot of attention to all of this in Black Brothers, Inc.: The Violent Rise and Fall of Philadelphia’s Black Mafia (Milo, 2007).