D.C. Democratic Political Consultant Connected to Illegal Campaign Loan

September 4, 2014

A D.C. Democratic political consultant has been connected to a federal corruption case involving an illegal $1 million loan to Rep. Chaka Fattah's (D., Pa.) unsuccessful campaign for Philadelphia mayor in 2007.

The consultant, Tom Lindenfeld, recently worked to gain a mayoral nomination for D.C. Council member Muriel Bowser.

Lindenfeld reportedly signed a promissory note for the loan. Former Fattah aide Greg Naylor has already plead guilty to hiding the loan from investigators.

The Washington Post writes:

The news immediately prompted Bowser (D-Ward 4) to cut ties with Lindenfeld, even though he hadn’t been working closely with her campaign since she won the April primary.

Lindenfeld is a former partner of David Axelrod, President Obama’s political guru — and one of the few politicos in Washington who moved as easily in local circles as national ones. He also advised the successful D.C. mayoral campaigns of Anthony A. Williams and Adrian M. Fenty.

Lindenfeld is not named in the court documents, but two people with knowledge of the investigation confirmed that he is the individual described as allegedly accepting a $1 million loan from a businessman and using some of it to cover Fattah campaign ­expenses. The loan was later repaid in part with federal grant money intended for "underrepresented" groups.

The Post also notes the contrast between the alleged corruption in this case and Lindenfeld's own calls for election reform:

The activity in Philadelphia that Lindenfeld is implicated in stands at odds with his advocacy for election reforms in the District. "Pay-to-play schemes, embezzlement and all manner of insider dealing plague other cities and states," he wrote in a 2011 Post op-ed. "But where many states have taken dramatic and effective measures to tackle corruption, the District has done very little."