Decades after his political career ended in scandal, a top Philadelphia Democrat is back to his old tricks again.
Michael “Ozzie” Myers, a former congressman from Pennsylvania, has been charged with conspiring to stuff ballot boxes in a series of primary elections over the last several years, The Hill reports.
Dem charged with fraud
In an indictment unsealed Thursday, Myers, who is 77, was accused of bribing a former Philadelphia election judge, Domenick Demuro, to tamper with votes in 2014, 2015, and 2016 primary races.
At Myers’ direction, Demuro added ballots in favor of certain candidates who “consulted” with Myers, for a price, as well as certain candidates who Myers favored for local, state, and federal office, according to a statement from the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Demuro was allegedly paid $300 to $5,000 per election to fraudulently add the ballots to voting machines and then certify the falsified totals after Election Day.
According to the DOJ, Demuro “was responsible for overseeing the entire election process and all voter activities of his division in accord with federal and state election laws.”
“Free and fair elections are the hallmark of our system of government,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said in the DOJ’s statement. “The Department of Justice has zero-tolerance for corruption of the electoral process, and we will spare no effort in investigating and prosecuting those who would seek an unfair advantage at the polls by bribing state and local officials responsible for ensuring the fairness of our elections.”
Old crook back in the news
Demuro previously pleaded guilty in federal court to voter fraud, although it was unclear who the “consultant” was from the indictment. Myers is accused of getting Demuro to lie about the scam to investigators.
According to the DOJ, the former Pennsylvania lawmaker has formally been charged with conspiring to violate voting rights by fraudulently stuffing the ballot boxes for specific candidates in the 2014, 2015, and 2016 primary elections, bribery of an election official, falsification of records, voting more than once in federal elections, and obstruction of justice.
Myers was a U.S. representative from Pennsylvania from 1976 until 1980, when, according to The Hill, he was expelled from Congress over his involvement in the Abscam scandal — an FBI sting operation in which several public officials, including federal lawmakers, were caught making bribes to undercover agents, as The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Myers, who served three years in prison, famously told an FBI agent, “Money talks in this business and bulls**t walks.”
The life advice Myers followed then seems to have stuck with him, to say the least.
He faces up to 20 years in prison.