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Al Sharpton campaign tied to Philadelphia corruption probe

AP reports: For anyone who looked closely enough, the presidential campaign finance reports posed a mystery: Why, in the winter of 2003, were a handful of wealthy investment bankers making donations to the Rev. Al Sharpton?

Federal prosecutors offered this surprising answer: It was all part of a scheme involving government pension funds, city contracts, and a plan to take over scores of fast-food franchises.

The unusual allegation was tucked away in a 150-page indictment handed up last June as part of a sweeping FBI probe of city government in Philadelphia. A federal jury began hearing more about it Wednesday in the trial of the city's former treasurer, Corey Kemp.

The case centers on charges that Kemp accepted thousands of dollars in illegal gifts from the late Democratic fund-raiser Ronald White in exchange for influence over which companies received city contracts. -- Investment Scheme Unfolds in Philly Trial (phillyBurbs.com)