It was just two days ago that we brought you this story involving charges of fraud against the Dems in New York:
Today its the same story, different city, as another top Democrat party boss has just been raided by the Feds and indicted!
This time from Philly, PA.
The indictment of one of Pennsylvania’s most powerful behind-the-scenes political players is rattling Democrats in a state that’s expected to be a key 2020 battleground.
The bombshell charges announced Wednesday against building trades leader John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty — a Philadelphia labor kingpin whose union is the single biggest independent source of campaign funding in the state — threaten to sap statehouse and congressional Democrats of a mega-donor, slow the party’s momentum in the Philadelphia suburbs, and sideline the man who orchestrated the Democratic takeover of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
That court radically redrew the state’s congressional map last year, leading to the Democratic pickup of a handful of congressional seats in November.
Dougherty’s tentacles spread so far that Republicans already think it could be a boon for President Donald Trump’s election chances in 2020.
“Anytime there’s a vacuum, it gets filled, and I believe there’s an opportunity for the Republicans to take advantage of the fact that the Democratic machinery is minus one piece,” said Charlie Gerow, a Pennsylvania-based GOP consultant.
It’s hard to overstate Dougherty’s power in Pennsylvania: His union’s heavy purse and legendary get-out-the-vote operation helped elect congressmen, governors, judges, mayors, state legislators, and city council members. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98 was a major donor to Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, played a critical role in putting Democratic Congressman Brendan Boyle in office, and was almost single-handedly responsible for making Jim Kenney the mayor of Philadelphia.
A few years before the nation’s high-stakes midterm elections, the union’s deep pockets helped put three justices on the state Supreme Court, including Dougherty’s brother, Kevin.
“I would argue they’re the single-most effective political organization in the state,” said Ryan Costello, a former Republican congressman from suburban Chester County who was a casualty of the redrawn congressional map. “They’re thinking five, six, seven steps ahead.”
Dougherty was charged with embezzlement, bribery, and theft in a 116-count indictment that alleged he and others stole more than $600,000 in union funds and repeatedly strong-armed public and private officials with the subtlety of a sledgehammer.
Prosecutors said Dougherty and his associates used the union’s credit cards to buy everything from Bruce Springsteen tickets to luxury clothing gift cards to baby wipes to “men’s exercise pants.” They claim Dougherty dispatched a Local 98 official who is also a city councilman, to retaliate against a towing company that tried to cart off his car, and squeeze Comcast into giving millions of dollars of work to a friend’s company.
Dougherty also allegedly threatened a children’s hospital administrator to give his union a job, saying, “You don’t want a city thing shutting down. We have had other hospitals shut down.”
Dougherty, who is the leader of the Philadelphia electricians union as well as the city’s building trades, has long denied any wrongdoing. Several top lieutenants in his union’s political operation were also charged.
Philly.com confirmed the story:
The FBI raided homes and offices across Philadelphia and South Jersey early Friday as part of a sweeping investigation of a powerful electricians union and its leader, John J. Dougherty.
The FBI, acting in concert with the IRS, also searched the City Hall office of Councilman Bobby Henon, a key Dougherty ally and a paid union leader.
Federal authorities executed search warrants at more than half a dozen locations, including Dougherty's house in South Philadelphia, his sister's home next door, the Local 98 hall at 17th and Spring Garden Streets, and the Mount Laurel home of union president Brian Burrows.
At midday at union headquarters, agents removed at least a hundred boxes of paperwork, along with several computer hard drives, loading them into a yellow Penske truck. The scene was repeated shortly after 3 p.m., as boxes, computer hard drives, and a laptop were carried from the union business office nearby.
Seized were bank records, invoices, credit card records, and tax forms, a person familiar with the investigation said.
Authorities also searched the City Hall and district offices of Henon, City Council's majority leader. He holds an untitled position with Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in which he reports directly to Dougherty.
The union reeled from the sweep of the raids as it struggled to determine the scope of the investigation.
Late Friday, a person familiar with the investigation said it focused on the union's finances and its involvement in the political campaigns of Mayor Kenney and state Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dougherty, who is Dougherty's brother. Federal authorities are also scrutinizing Dougherty's finances and taxes, the source said.
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