Aide says congressman's opponent was paid to drop from race

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A former aide to a political challenger of a powerful U.S. representative admitted that she helped funnel the congressman's cash to her former boss in exchange for his withdrawal from a 2012 election, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

Carolyn Cavaness, a pastor who was an aide to Philadelphia Judge Jimmie Moore during his 2012 candidacy in the Democratic primary for the seat held by U.S. Rep. Robert Brady, told officials she set up at Moore's direction a shell company that would be used to accept $90,000 from Brady. In turn, she said, Moore would drop out of the race and use the cash to pay off his campaign debt.

The money was routed through two political consultants who falsified invoices intended to justify the payments, officials said. Cavaness pleaded guilty to filing false statements to hide the transactions.

Moore dropped out of the race, and Brady won the Democratic primary and the general election and is still in office.

Prosecutors did not name Moore or Brady in court documents or a related news release, but a statement issued by the U.S. attorney's office in Philadelphia said the candidates involved in the case were running for the congressional seat held by Brady.

Neither candidate has been charged with anything or accused of wrongdoing. A spokeswoman for the prosecutors said she would not comment further.

Brady, a powerbroker who has been the Democratic Party boss in Philadelphia for the last three decades, told The Philadelphia Inquirer, "That's five years ago. I don't remember none of that." Moore did not immediately respond to a voicemail message left at his office.

Cavaness could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Her guilty plea comes amid a long string of corruption convictions for the Democratic Party in the city, most recently the guilty plea of former District Attorney Seth Williams in a bribery case.

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