An adviser to U.S. Rep. Bob Brady quit last night in the wake of allegations that he worked for Brady's mayoral campaign in violation of the city campaign-finance ordinance.
Political consultant Ken Smukler resigned after confirming that he's worked with Brady on mayoral-debate preparation, editorial-board appearances and campaign events while being paid by Brady's congressional-campaign fund instead of his mayoral campaign.
City ethics board director Shane Creamer said that could be a problem.
"The city law requires all candidates to maintain a single political committee and checking account into which all contributions are received and from which all expenses are made to influence their campaign," Creamer noted.
In a statement issued last night, Brady said, "I accepted Ken Smukler's resignation as an adviser, and I will no longer be seeking his counsel on political matters. It is unfortunate because he is a good friend, and I wish him well."
Earlier in the day, Smukler acknowledged that he had accompanied Brady to mayoral forums, debates and other events, but said, "He is still a congressman while he is running for mayor. When he goes to mayoral events, he talks about his congressional work and record."
Asked whether that amounted to working for the mayoral campaign, Kate Philips, a spokeswoman for the Brady campaign, said, "That is under review."
The issue arose yesterday when Frank Keel, a media consultant for electricians union Local 98, accused Smukler of urging him in a Feb. 9 meeting to organize an effort to criticize rival candidate Tom Knox.
Smukler admitted that he suggested Keel form a so-called "527" political committee to attack Knox, but did so as an individual and not as a representative of Brady or the Brady campaign.
If the Brady campaign were connected to a 527 committee, that would also appear to violate the single-committee rule in the city's campaign-finance law.
"I'm interested in this conversation on February 9, and I will follow up on that," Creamer said. *