A prominent Democratic campaign strategist who worked on President Obama's 2004 Senate campaign and wooed Democrats like Bill Clinton has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to commit honest service wire fraud.
Thomas Lindenfeld of Washington D.C. participated in a wire fraud scheme started during the campaign he consulted in the 2007 election of Philadelphia's mayor. The official campaign that he was hired by is not disclosed in an FBI release because the person has not been officially charged yet.
"Elected Official A" (the title given by the FBI) and Lindenfeld arranged an illegal campaign contribution in the form of a $1 million loan that he routed through his own political consulting firm, LSG Strategies Services Corporation. Documents show that $600,000 of that money was used in "Elected Official A's" political campaign and the rest returned to the creditor (who also hasn't been charged and is unnamed).
When the creditor who loaned LSG the money that was used for "Elected Official A's" campaign sought to have the loan paid off, Lindenfeld paid the debt with stolen charitable funds and federal grant money that he routed through LSG and several other entities.
The story gets worse.
To resolve other debt from "Elected Official A" and compensate for Lindenfeld's work in stealing and laundering the $1 million, "Elected Official A" used his position to federally fund Lindenfeld's phony environmental advocacy group, "Blue Guardians." In 2009, "Elected Official A" requested $15 million for the phony group, but was only approved for $500,000 from an earmark through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ("NOAA").
In March 2010, NOAA received notice it was to allocate $500,000 to "Blue Guardians." They did some investigating and found that the organization didn't have a website or contact information. They contacted "Elected Official A's" office to ask about the organization and who to contact. They sent NOAA to Thomas Lindenfeld.
After receiving a call from NOAA, Lindenfield quickly filed a for a tax identification number, opened up a bank account, and created an email address. As he was working to make sure his organization seemed legitimate, a reporter out of Philadelphia called and asked him about "Blue Guardians."
Once again, Lindenfeld and "Elected Official A" conspired. They agreed to abort their mission to pay Lindenfeld with federal money and reject the earmark and recommend it go to the clean up efforts of the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
From the beginning, NOAA was suspicious of "Elected Official A" and Lindenfeld's involvement with each other and the incredibly shady "Blue Guardian." The $500,000 never made it to Lindenfeld and he was indicted in August of 2014.
Lindenfeld faces up to 20 years in prison and as much as a $250,000 fine.