Former Philadelphia Judge Admits to Campaign-Finance Deceit

A former senior judge with the Philadelphia Municipal Court, Jimmie Moore pleaded guilty on Oct. 3, 2017, to a criminal information concerning his unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012. Prosecutors say Moore’s opponent paid him to drop out of the race, which is not illegal itself, but Moore misrepresented the source of those funds to the Federal Election Commission. Moore was elected to the court in 1999 and also launched an unsuccessful congressional bid in 2016. (Courthouse News via Facebook)

PHILADELPHIA (CN) – Pleading guilty to false statements Tuesday, a former senior judge with the Philadelphia Municipal Court admitted that he lied about campaign funds to the Federal Election Commission.

Jimmie Moore, 66, of Philadelphia, was elected to the court in 1999 but also launched unsuccessful campaigns for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 and 2016.

Prosecutors say the Democrat had an outstanding debt in his first campaign, however, and accepted $90,000 from an opponent to cover that balance, in exchange for dropping out of the primary race.

Pleading guilty Tuesday to falsifying his record of that payment with the FEC, Moore admitted that he used the money to pay vendors and reimburse himself for loans he had made to his own campaign.

Though the court documents do not identify Moore’s rival, the judge’s opponent in the 2012 race was was the incumbent congressman of Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Bob Brady.

First elected in 1998, Brady is a powerful power broker in the city, having been chairman of the Philadelphia Democratic Party since 1986, and is the ranking Democrat on the U.S. House Committee on House Administration. He has not been charged with any crimes.

Moore’s former campaign manager, Carolyn Cavaness, 34, also of Philadelphia, meanwhile pleaded guilty for her role in the scheme back in June.

Moore admitted that he directed Caveness, a pastor of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, to take payments from his rival campaign, but conceal its source by funneling it through a bogus entity as well as various consulting firms.

Though the former judge’s website is no longer active, an archived version says he grew up in federal housing projects and attended the University of New Hampshire on a scholarship.

After getting his law degree from Rutgers University, Moore briefly worked for a legal aid society and became the first black assistant attorney general in Delaware. The criminal information against Moore was unsealed Monday.

Politics PA reported on the withdrawal of Moore’s primary challenge in 2012, saying he “brought in $130,000 over the course of his campaign (including $25,000 in candidate loans).” Moore had only $4,000 on hand when he dropped out, compounded by $147,000 in campaign debts, compared with Brady’s $758,000.

The case is being investigated by the FBI with Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Gibson prosecuting.

Over the summer, the same office accepted the guilty plea of former Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams, after he was indicted on 23 counts of corruption.

Chaka Fattah, the 11-term Democratic congressman, also was given a 10-year federal prison sentence this year after his corruption prosecution as well.

Fattah’s son was also found guilty on 22 out of 23 counts in a federal bank and tax fraud case in which he represented himself.

Rep. Brady’s attorney took pains to distance the congressman from Moore.

“Over five years ago the Brady Campaign bought a poll from the Moore campaign, which is totally legal,” said Jim Eisenhower of Dilworth Paxson. “Congressman Brady categorically denies any illegal deal made with the Moore campaign.”

Eisenhower said Brady has it on good authority from federal investigators that he has not been a target of this investigation at any point.

Moore was represented by attorney Jeffery Miller, who did not return a call requesting comment.

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