Fattah Ally Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud
Thomas Lindenfeld, a Washington political consultant who has been an ally to U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, pleaded guilty Wednesday to wire fraud. It’s a guilty plea that is bad news for Fattah, who cruised to re-election over Armond James on Tuesday.
Fattah was not named in the information and plea memo (below) released Wednesday, but has been widely reported to be “Elected Official A” in court filings.
Lindenfeld pleaded guilty to a complex transaction to get around campaign contribution limits in the city of Philadelphia. He admitted to using his political consulting firm, LSG Strategies Services Corporation, to hide a $1 million loan to Elected Official A from a man not identified in the information. The Inquirer reports the loan came from former Sallie Mae chief Albert Lord.
This loan was paid back with a complex series of transactions made with former Fattah aide Gregory Naylor, who pleaded guilty to the scheme earlier this year.
According to the plea memo, in return for creating the loan, Lindenfeld wanted $15 million in federal funds directed to his “so-called” environmental advocacy group, Blue Guardians. Elected Official A allegedly attempted to route Blue Guardians $500,000 with an earmark through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But, according to the document, NOAA got suspicious the money was a “political payoff” and, eventually, Lindenfeld and Elected Official A scuttled the $500,000 earmark.
Lindenfeld is the consultant who helped John Street get elected mayor of Philadelphia, then had Barack Obama as a client during Obama’s successful bid for a U.S. Senate seat in 2004. He has also been active in D.C. mayoral elections.
Lindenfeld faces sentencing on March 25th of next year. He could get up to 20 years, plus a fine of $250,000. Fattah won election with almost 88 percent of the vote on Tuesday.