Politics

Former Congressman Charged With Bribing Election Official to Stuff Ballot Boxes

A former Philadelphia congressman, who was previously convicted in connection with the FBIs Abscam sting operation, has been charged with bribing an election official to illegally add votes for certain candidates in primary elections, the Justice Department announced.

Michael “Ozzie” Myers, who was working as a campaign consultant, is accused of paying an elections judge to add fraudulent votes on behalf of specific candidates in the 2014, 2015, and 2016 primaries—a process known as “ringing up” votes. The candidates, who, like Myers, are Democrats, were backed by Myers for a variety of reasons, including that the candidates campaigns had hired Myers to represent them, prosecutors allege.

The indictment (pdf), which was unsealed on July 23, alleges that Myers, 77, would solicit payments from his clients, candidates from elective office, in the form of cash or checks as “consulting fees.” Myer would then use a portion of the funds to pay Domenick J. Demuro, a former election judge for the 39th Ward, 36th Division, who previously has pleaded guilty to accepting bribes to cast fraudulent ballots.

Myers would pay Demuro amounts between $300 and $5,000 per election, court documents say.

After receiving the payments, Demuro would add fraudulent votes on voting machines for Myerss clients and preferred candidates—thus diluting the value of the ballots cast by actual voters, prosecutors alleged. Demuro would also falsely certify that the voting machine results were accurate.

In an effort to cover his tracks, Myers would direct Demuro to lie about the scheme and the bribes, prosecutors said.

Myers has been charged on eight counts: one count of conspiracy to deprive individuals of their civil rights; one count of conspiring to illegally vote in a federal election; two counts of violating the Travel Act, which forbids the use of any facility in interstate commerce (here, a cell phone) with the intent to promote certain illegal activity (here, bribery); two counts of falsification of records; one count of voting more than once in a federal election; and one count of obstruction of justice.

“Through the alleged scheme, Myers advanced his political and financial interests through fraudulent and corrupt means by engaging in a ballot-stuffing scheme that enabled him to take credit for the electoral success of his Philadelphia-based clients and preferred candidates,” U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania said in a press conference announcing the charges.

“This secured his standing in local party politics that enabled him to control and influence the 39th Ward, and influence the distribution of Read More From Source

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