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Topics: House of Representatives

House Dem aide resigns during voter fraud investigation

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Beltway Confidential,Congress,Joel Gehrke,House of Representatives,Voter Registration,Analysis

A Miami newspaper confirmed today that Rep. Joe Garcia’s communications director resigned Friday as an investigation proceeds of his possible involvement in a voter fraud scheme in the 2012 election.

Giancarlo Sopo resigned his post as Garcia’s communications director on Friday, according to today’s edition of the Miama Herald.

“Sopo had been placed on unpaid administrative leave last month, days after Miami-Dade prosecutors and police raided the home of one of his family members in connection with the scheme to request ballots for nearly 500 unsuspecting voters in the Aug. 14 Democratic primary,” the Miami Herald reports.

Sopo was a speechwriter for Garcia during the 2012 campaign. Police also raided the home of Garcia’s former campaign manager, John Estes. The Florida Democrat fired his chief of staff after the aide admitted to being involved in the attempt to request absentee ballots for voters (the plan was not carried out).

“Under state elections law, it may be considered a third-degree felony fraud for a ballot request to be filled out by someone other than voters or their immediate family. Using people’s personal information as required in the requests may be considered a first-degree felony,” the Herald explained last month.

Garcia won the 2012 election with 53.6 percent of the vote, compared to 43 percent for his GOP opponent. Republicans hoping to pick up the seat next time around slammed the lawmaker for running a “shady political operation,” as National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Katie Prill put it. “The voters in South Florida deserve to know what Congressman Garcia knew and why he continues to stand by his political cronies,” Prill said in a statement. Garcia said he did not immediately fire Sopo because Sopo denied wrong-doing. “He said he did not do that, and I take him at his word,” Garcia told The Miami Herald. “If I find that’s not the case, he’s not going to be put on administrative leave — he’s going to be let go. Until that happens, I am neither the prosecutor nor the judge and jury.”

 

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