The mystery representative accompanied Harvey to a meeting with city Records Commissioner Joan T. Decker in January 2008, according to authorities, and backed Harvey's contention that she was doing seat-belt research.
The representative then followed up with a faxed letter - on House letterhead - making an "official request" for Harvey to get access to records.
The letter said she was "undertaking a very important research project which deals with seat belt injuries on African Americans," and claimed there were "no economic incentives arising out of this research," according to the charges.
Harvey made campaign contributions of $300 in 2008 and $1,500 in 2010 to State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas, a Democrat who represents North Philadelphia. No other campaign contributions from Harvey could be found.
Thomas was not mentioned in court documents. He could not be reached for comment. Nobody answered the door at his home Wednesday night.
Harvey, 54, of Philadelphia, was charged by information with mail fraud and aiding and abetting. She could not be reached Wednesday evening, and it was unclear whether she had an attorney. Several phone numbers for her chiropractic business were disconnected.
Federal authorities typically charge defendants in an information when defendants plan to plead guilty, rather than seeking a grand jury indictment.
Harvey was granted free access to the records at City Hall for two hours a week, starting in January 2008. In May of that year, authorities said, Harvey complained to the state representative that she needed more time.
The politician contacted Decker's office again. This time, Harvey was given access to any record from any computer connected to the Internet "without restriction and free of charge," according to the information.
Between 2008 and 2010, federal authorities said, Harvey "or her designee" viewed more than 40,000 city accident reports.
Since the city charges $25 for a hard copy or to view a record online, prosecutors say, Harvey saw $988,000 worth of records.
(The department also offered a "privilege pass" for an annual fee. A bill sponsored by Councilman James F. Kenney and passed last year since has restricted access to accident reports to victims and their representatives.)
Harvey's access was terminated on Dec. 31, 2010, but court papers do not explain why. The representative faxed and mailed another missive on House of Representatives letterhead in January 2011 requesting that Harvey's access be restored.
Decker also could not be reached. Mark McDonald, a spokesman for Mayor Nutter, said he could not comment on the charges.
The city would not release correspondence from Harvey because of a continuing criminal investigation, McDonald said.
Contact Bob Warner at 215-854-5885 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Inquirer staff writer Robert Moran contributed to this article.