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FBI raid on Reading City Hall is second in a week

FBI agents descended Friday on Reading City Hall - their second such raid on a Pennsylvania municipal building in as many weeks.

FBI agents descended Friday on Reading City Hall - their second such raid on a Pennsylvania municipal building in as many weeks.

Nearly a dozen investigators spent nearly three hours copying contracts and hauling boxes of documents and computer equipment from the offices of Mayor Vaughn Spencer, the city council, and other departments. By afternoon, they had moved on to Spencer's house and spent several hours there.

The Berks County raid came eight days after agents conducted a similar sweep through Allentown City Hall, also looking for information on municipal contracts.

Both warrants were signed by Philadelphia-based U.S. District Judge Legrome Davis, a source close to the investigation said.

Spencer, mayor since 2012, was in Florida at the time of Friday's raid, city officials said. He did not return calls for comment, but in an interview with WFMZ-TV said he would cooperate with the probe.

In an e-mail Friday, City Clerk Linda Kelleher wrote that agents had also asked for items containing the names of Allentown political consultant Michael Fleck, who was Spencer's campaign manager, and Sam Ruchlewicz, an employee of Fleck's consulting firm, H Street Strategies.

It was unclear if Spencer or Fleck were targets of the FBI investigation or potential witnesses.

Both have previously faced scrutiny from law enforcement. In 2013, the Berks County Board of Elections concluded that the mayor's campaign laundered political donations for Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, allowing the union to skirt contribution caps in two Philadelphia City Council races.

Spencer and Local 98 head John "Johnny Doc" Dougherty denied the allegations at the time.

According to the board's report, the union cut Spencer a $30,000 check in 2011 - the largest contribution to his campaign. The same day, Spencer's campaign donated $10,000 each to the Council campaigns of then-incumbent Bill Green and candidate Bill Rubin.

Donations to Green and Rubin from Local 98 had reached or were approaching the city's $10,600 contribution limit per candidate.

State Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane picked up the investigation, but charges were never filed.

Before the FBI raids, Fleck, 39, was running the U.S. Senate campaign of Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski. Four days after the July 2 raid at Allentown City Hall, Fleck closed his company, laid off all its employees, and moved out of his house.

Pawlowski suspended his campaign Monday.