Dem Rep’s Former Campaign Aide Pleads Guilty to Paying Opponent to Drop Out of 2012 Primary

Rep. Robert Brady (D., Pa.) speaks during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. / Getty Images

A strategist for Rep. Robert Brady (D., Pa.) on Friday admitted to helping cover up the Brady campaign’s $90,000 contribution to a Democratic primary opponent to bribe him to drop out of the race.

Donald Jones pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents and has agreed to cooperate in the investigation going forward, Roll Call reported.

Both Jones and fellow Brady Aide Ken Smukler were charged in October with making illegal campaign contributions on behalf of Brady to former Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Jimmie Moore to bribe him to drop out of the 2012 primary race. Moore pleaded guilty to hiding the $90,000 payment.

"I accept full responsibility for my actions and consider my guilty plea a first step in making amends," Jones said in a statement. "I apologize to the people of Philadelphia and to my family for bringing this dishonor upon them."

Jones’ guilty plea comes as the first admission of the unlawful exchange of funds from the Brady campaign to his primary opponent. The prosecutors struck a deal where Jones agreed to testify against Brady or Smukler if necessary.

The former aide admitted on Friday that he conspired to hide payments to Moore as an incentive for him to drop out of the Democratic primary. According to the plea document, Jones and Smukler agreed to help Moore retire some of his campaign debt, including funneling $25,000 from Jones’ consulting firm to Moore’s campaign manager.

Prosecutors said Smukler provided the additional $65,000 through his consulting company and disguised the money as funds to be used for polling data. Smukler has denied the charges against him.