Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation have confirmed that they are on scene executing the search of an IBEW headquarters in Philadelphia.
The FBI arrived on scene at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98 just over a week after it was announced that a federal bribery trial had been postponed. The trial involved union leader “Johnny Doc” Dougherty and City Councilmember Bobby Henon.
A spokesperson for the FBI told NBC10, a local news outlet, that they were “carrying out court-authorized law enforcement activity” but did not elaborate.
It is unclear what the FBI was looking for, but the union has been in the spotlight for a while, as its leader, Dougherty, was federally indicted last year on corruption and tax charges.
This is not the first time that the FBI has searched the IBEW’s offices. In August of 2016, they raided union headquarters and Dougherty’s home in South Philadelphia. The FBI also searched City Hall and district offices belonging to Henon.
These prior raids led to the February 2019 indictment of Dougherty, Henon, and six other Local 98 officials and members on bribery and embezzlement charges.
According to the 116-count indictment, Dougherty exerted complete control over the IBEW, using his power to “repeatedly and persistently steal its funds and put his own self-interests over that of the membership.” Officials said that the defendants misspent more than $600,000 in union funds.
The union became a major political donor over the years, spending tens of millions of dollars through its political action committees (PACs), mostly to help Democrats in Pennsylvania.
As stated in the indictment, Dougherty used union credit cards for personal purchases, such as to buy groceries and household goods, and to splurge at restaurants, and allowed his friends to do the same. Dougherty also allegedly used union funds to pay contractors to work on his South Philadelphia home and bar.
Prosecutors said that Dougherty put friends and family members on the union payroll, paying out raises and overtime for hours they did not work.
Officials also wrote in the unsealed indictment that Councilman Bobby Henon, a former union official, was paid a $70,000 union salary to push for Dougherty’s interests at City Hall. Prosecutors said that Henon used his position to pressure Comcast Corp., the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and other businesses to use union labor. Prosecutors accused Dougherty of bribing Henon with that salary for years, to buy his influence and council vote.
Both IBEW leader Dougherty and Councilman Henon pleaded not guilty to the charges in 2019.