As previously reported, Congressman Joe Garcia is currently embroiled in an election scandal after allegedly trying to steal the primary election in the Florida’s Congressional District 26. It caused his chief of staff to resign and last Friday his communications director and 2012 campaign manager's homes were raided by the Miami Dade state attorney’s office. The vote fraud scandal continues to grow. Garcia has since tried to push the focus off of his own involvement and blamed South Florida politics:
“I think it was a well-intentioned attempt to maximize voter turnout”… “I explain it with the reckless abandon that we play politics in South Florida,” he said. “It shouldn’t be that way.”
Garcia may know more than he originally led the press and constituents to believe. Florida’s Shark Tank reported:
“During Garcia’s past failed Congressional campaigns, Garcia built up a reputation of being a “hands-on” type of candidate, who insisted on being apprised on all aspects of his campaign.”If this is true, it seems like a far stretch from the truth for Garcia to claim he was unaware of the scheme,
“I’m shocked and disappointed about this,” and that “This is something that hit me from left field. Until today, I had no earthly idea this was going on.”
Since the raid, Joe Garcia's communications director Giancarlo Sopo has been placed on paid administrative leave. The question is why? What does Sopo know about the vote fraud scheme that has Congressman Garcia afraid to fire him and why is Joe Garcia standing by his staffer?
Sopo wrote news releases, advertising scripts and speeches for his 2012 campaign, however Sopo’s compensation does not appear in Garcia’s campaign reports. Joe Garcia, who has hired an attorney to conduct an internal investigation, was unable to say why Sopo was not paid directly: “That’s part of what we have to figure out.” If Garcia didn’t pay Sopo, who did?
Katie Prill, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee released a statement stating:
“Congressman Garcia needs to stop with the slippery double talk and finally explain why he is allowing one of his top staffers to remain on his taxpayer-funded salary while being investigated for breaking the law.”
It’s true. And others are worried it may have spread to their own county. Miami-Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo, called on the Monroe County state attorney to also investigate potential fraud. Congressional District 26 runs from Kendall to Key West.
“The voters of Monroe County deserve to know if they, too, were victimized by Mr. Garcia and his campaign,” Curbelo said in a statement.
Curbelo is correct. These troubling allegations deserve to be fully investigated as Garcia's chief of staff also worked for the campaign that narrowly defeated Rep. Allen West. Vote fraud is real, it exists and needs to be stopped with open, fair, and honest elections. Vote fraud cannot be dismissed as a "well-intentioned attempt to maximize voter turnout," it is a crime.