Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Congressman's Chief of Staff Pleads Guilty to Vote Fraud

Yesterday in Florida, Jeffery Garcia, former chief of staff to Congressman Joe Garcia (no relation), pleaded guilty to one felony and three misdemeanor charges for requesting absentee ballots. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail.

Garcia was still trying to downplay his actions:

My intent and actions were calculated merely to increase voter participation.
I should not have done it. I’m sorry, and I accept responsibility for my actions.

This was not a get out the vote effort.  This was vote fraud which is why he has a 90 day jail sentence and 18 months’ probation. During the first three months of his probation, he will be under house arrest and will wear a GPS monitor. During probation he is not allowed to volunteer or work for any campaign.
It seems that Congressman Garcia was not distancing himself from Jeffrey Garcia stating:
 "It is painful to watch a friend go through this very difficult ordeal.” 
Jeffrey Garcia's "pain" is undoubtedly lessoned by the $50,000 paid to him and his company by Congressman Garcia:
Last week, Republicans pounced on Garcia when a newly released campaign-finance report disclosed that the congressman had paid $25,000 to Jeffrey Garcia’s company, Palm Media, for consulting work. The consulting took place earlier in the year, but Garcia did not send the congressman an invoice until recently. Joe Garcia had already paid Jeffrey Garcia another $25,000 this year as a “bonus” for winning last year’s race.

State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle said this of his punishment:

It was a very just resolution given the severity of the crime and the preciousness of the democratic process.

During the course of the investigation, the state attorney’s office identified more than 2,500 fraudulent absentee ballots. Garcia requested roughly 1,800 absentee ballots during the Miami Democratic political primary election.
Joe Garcia’s former communications director Giancarlo Sopo and former campaign manager John Estes are still under investigation for participating in the vote fraud. 

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