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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Fed Ed's Lawyer: Forfeiture a Pain in the Assets

Jack McMahon, the colorful Philly defense lawyer who represents Allentown Mayor Edwin "Fed Ed" Pawlowski, has vowed to stand by his client until the bitter end. That may be coming soon. My experience in watching McMahon try cases in Northampton County is that once the money's gone, so is he. He filed no post trial motions in the Graf case. That's the lovely guy who killed his stepdaughter so he could videotape himself having sex with her dead body. Come to think of it, he filed no pretrial motions either. I'll shed no tears for that sicko, but McMahon took every cent he had. The same is true of the thug he ably represented in a south side Bethlehem shooting spree, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.  The end came once the money well went dry. A Morning Call report that Fed Ed's campaign accounts have been frozen is bad news for a McMahon looking for a few more paydays, and even worse for Fed Ed.

You see, Fed Ed has been using campaign funds to pay his lawyers. You don't think he'd use his own money, do you?

Back in February, I told you that Fed Ed had spent $80,000 from his state campaign coffers for criminal defense lawyers. Jack McMahon was paid $20,000 on September 3. Washington, DC law firm Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge and Rice was paid $20,000 on July 20 and $40,000 on September 22.

Why wasn't he using his federal funds?

The answer to that question comes from a prominent local lawyer who graduated at the top of his class from Georgetown Law. Instead of going to Wall Street, he stuck around. He represents poor people and talks to bottom-feeding bloggers. Go figure.

This year, Fed Ed transferred most of his remaining federal money - $75,000 - back into his state fund. He drew his federal fund down to just $18,944.

There are two reasons for this transfer.

First, he wants to avoid prying eyes. He must file quarterly federal reports. He waits until the last possible second to do so, which in one report caused an 18-day delay before the report was publicly available. But eventually, we all can follow the money and see how much he is paying his lawyers. If he pays his lawyers from his state funds, we won't know about it until February of next year. That's because he can just sit on his state fund and make no contributions, which is what triggers he reporting requirment.

Let's face it. He's never been a model of transparency.

The second reason he is using state funds instead of his federal treasury to pay his lawyers is because there is virtually no scrutiny by the state, while federal law is pretty clear. Unless he actually holds federal office, he is unable to use campaign funds to pay lawyers. Fed Ed may pay “ordinary and necessary expenses incurred in connection with the recipient's duties as a holder of Federal office . . . .” But Fed Ed has never held federal office! Any legal expenses have no relation to his “duties as a holder of federal office.”

My friend believes, and I agree, that the $75,000 transfer was made solely to circumvent the FEC’s case-by-case review as to personal expenses. In the end, that the $75,000.00 cannot be used for the legal fees, though there is no doubt in anyone's mind that is precisely what he is doing. .

I suspect that McMahon learned of the freeze when he attempted to cash the latest check from Fed Ed.

Miked Fleck was Fed Ed's campaign consultant, and had the authority to write checks on three bank accounts at two banks, where Pawlowski dumped all his bribes. Fleck was provided with a Notice of Forfeiture of those accounts when he pleaded guilty on April 21, 2016. He indicated at that time that he owed at least $50,750 in back taxes, and the accounts were obviously frozen to protect the government's interest in those funds.

This money is directly related to the bribery and extortion scheme in which both Fleck and Pawlowski were involved. Before a court order of forfeiture is entered, Fed Ed will have an opportunity to explain why he should be able to use the proceeds of criminal activity to pay his lawyers. He will be allowed to explain why he should be permitted to circumvent more stringent federal rules on campaign finance by by transferring this money into his state account. And he will lose.

In the meantime, I suspect the freeze will remain, and McMahon does not work for free. There are plenty of drug dealers who need a lawyer, and they have money.

Maybe Fed Ed should set up a GoFundMe account.

Forfeiture, incidentally, relates back to the ancient common law principle of deodand. Instruments used to commit crimes are forfeited to God.

It's a pain in the assets.


Connolly Victim said...

Excellent article - thanks Bernie.

Anonymous said...

Since this topic of the mayor is being brought up again we need to not put the cart before the horse. The Mayor has not been charged or convicted of any crime. So all of this is interesting but is as of yet rumor and speculation.

Bernie O'Hare said...

This post has nothing to do with the merits of the prosecution, and everything to do with being able to spend tainted money. He can't. Even if McMahon had taken all the money himself sooner, the government could go after that account. Save your talking points for someone else.

Anonymous said...

12:25 it is amazing that you continue to comment like this until the end. You have your head so far up the wazoo you cannot see daylight anymore. Just want to let you know the world is not flat either.

Anonymous said...

We shall see if the "bitter end" has actually arrived, or if Mr McMahon will continue to represent Pawlowski on a pro-bono basis.

What may actually happen here is that McMahon may transfer Ed's case to one of his junior partners and "supervise" it, so his firm doesn't reap the bad publicity of leaving Ed out in the cold to fend for himself legally.

Anonymous said...

Also, those of you who believe Mayor Pawlowski is innocent of all charges. You're absolutely correct. Ed is charged with NOTHING as of now. However, he is being investigated by the FBI and has hired an attorney to represent him in that investigation. Nothing unusual about that, he's entitled to legal representation and the presumption of innocence remains.

Those are the facts as of now.

Now the FBI can either clear Ed, or provide to the U.S. Attorney a summation of any possible infractions of the law which their investigation has found. At that point we shall see what happens.

Scott Armstrong said...

The FBI will very likely say Ed was extremely careless about his fund raising and reckless when he gave city contracts to the same people who donated to his campaign accounts. But no reasonable prosecutor would recommend filing charges because intent is unclear and since he is a Democrat elected official he must be given the benefit of doubt. Perhaps he will promise not to do it again.

Anonymous said...

Another daddona mall sprawl vanishing suit!

Anonymous said...

Ed is innocent but his wife Lisa is guilty, ask him. She's going down and joining the cast of orange is the new black.

Anonymous said...

He's an innocent man, just ask the Church on the Run.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but what was his intent in all of this. Hilary used that excuse and it worked for her.

Anonymous said...

Point on Bernie! The transfer of money was needed to escape federal guidelines and his Washington D.C. lawyers advised this. Also, McMahon wants all the money up front before his hugeness goes to jail. Caretaker for these illegal proceeds [at least $#50,000 or so] was Mike Fleck. When Fleck pleaded guilty these funds became targeted for illegal booty. The noose is is getting tighter oh chosen one. Federal prison is awaiting and your wife will be following!

Anonymous said...

Obviously Mr. Mayor's Dream Team did not protect His assets.A non-profit foundation should have been set up to protect His legal fund.

Bernie O'Hare said...

No doubt Fed Ed was too busy taking care of the little people to worry about himself. At least that is how he portrays himself in recent months on Facebook. Instead of hob nobbing with the rich and powerful, he now walks among Allentown's poorest, and has probably discovered they are better people.

Anonymous said...

This affair definitely leaves a stain on all graduates of the Moody Bible Institute.

Harvey said...

He should reach out to Leighton Cohen whom I hear works "Pro Boner".

Anonymous said...

Funny how everyone charged pled guilty. That's what you get for hiring the Eric Doodle type Lehigh lawyers. They're used to rolling over in court or seeking some crappy plea. Pawlowski and Fitzgerald know how these useless idiots operate and chose a real lawyer instead. These lawyers promise to fight yet toss their clients under the Lehigh Valley Railroad train. You are guaranteed a prison sentence hiring one of these fools. They take advantage of poor people. High volume lawyers who run from courtroom to courtroom all mfing day

Anonymous said...

Very interesting bundling all necrophiles in one sort sweet story?!)$ The like the toilet brigade and gloryhole tent solicitors are just about of the same creatures?!)$
While caged some humans used a fefe butt most used there hand, than there were those that seem to go take a show with the transient transplants relocated on different cellblocks for there entertainment as well as there own?!)$ There are some high and mighty within epicentral that howsed such shims for there deviant ill behaviors and lifestyles cirCUMMvented by local media man advertismentalistZ and its mustacsh momma?!)$
Hence the triplets cigar surprise sideways, outback was always the gloryhole tent serVICEing at ones discretion it was funny as a child now LVHN formally known as the great Allentown hospital circus, now oxicandyland incubators has just become the triboro of manies repulsion?!)$
Naming names the list on the Feds spreadsheets are going to cumulated high into the teens as pounds of paper producing names?!)$
Also liked the closing theological STATEment?!)$

Anonymous said...

The beginning of the end.

Anonymous said...

Would someone please translate anon $:05 into readable English? What the hell is a "gloryhole?"

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

1. Go to www.urbandictionary.com
2. Look up glory hole.

It's sad.