Democrat Rep. Bob Brady to retire from Congress, insists it’s not because of FBI investigation

Add this Democrat to the growing list of congressional drop-outs.

Philadelphia’s head Democrat, Rep. Bob Brady (Pa.), abruptly announced on Wednesday that he will not seek re-election. His departure brings a twenty-year congressional career to an end. Brady’s 2012 campaign is the subject of an FBI probe concerning an alleged bribe to a primary challenger who dropped out after receiving $90,000 in cash from two of Brady’s campaign aides — but Brady insists that wasn’t a factor in his decision to retire.

Brady joins departing congressmen from across the aisle, including Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), who announced this week that he would be leaving politics.

He will stay on as Philadelphia’s Democratic party boss.

Brady quits amid FBI probe

Sporting an Eagles shirt, the long-time Philadelphia Democratic party boss told a crowd of party officials that he would not seek re-election to Congress but would continue to lead the city’s party machine, citing personal reasons.

Brady served ten congressional terms and the 72-year-old has been the city’s Democratic party boss for more than 30 years.

“It’s time for me to come home,” Brady told a press conference.

Brady says he wanted to retire to spend more time with his family. But there’s more to the story.

Over the past year, the FBI scrutinized Brady’s 2012 campaign over a suspicious $90,000 campaign contribution to a primary challenger who dropped out of the race. Donald Jones, a political consultant to Brady, pleaded guilty in December of 2017 to lying about the dubious donation.

Brady denies any involvement with the alleged bribe, and maintains that it’s not why he is retiring.

He has not been charged with a crime. “My lawyers have advised me, based on the statute of limitations, that I will not be charged in this case,” said Brady.

Prosecutors accuse Jones and another campaign aide, Ken Smukler of giving $90,000 to Judge Jimmie Moore and then trying to hide the cash payment. Moore pleaded guilty to taking the money and resigned from his judgeship in September.

New contenders

The news of Brady’s departure brings fresh blood to the May primary. Pastor Kevin Johnson, State Rep. Joanna McClinton, Nina Ahmad, a former deputy mayor, Michele Lawrence, a former banking executive, millennial politician Lindy Li, and another deputy mayor, Richard Lazer, are among those expected to enter the fray.

The district they’ll be fighting to win could change following a Pennsylvania Supreme Court order, prompted by a gerrymandering lawsuit, to re-draw electoral districts in the state. Brady hinted that re-districting had something to do with his departure, saying he didn’t want the new electoral map to disadvantage his fellow Democratic city congressmen, Brendan Boyle and and Dwight Evans.

Multiple Philadelphia Democrats were convicted of crimes under his leadership.

Still, Brady lauded his work as a prominent figure in Philadelphia politics. “I brought back $15.5 billion to the city of Philadelphia and this region,” said Brady. “There’s nobody who could come in and do all the things that I’ve done.”

It’s about time the Democratic party opened its ranks to some new faces. Voters are getting tired of dynastic politicians like the Clintons and the Kennedys.

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