Former Democratic congressman Ozzie Myers charged with bribery, ballot stuffing

Former Democratic congressman Ozzie Myers charged with bribery, ballot stuffing
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Former Rep. Michael “Ozzie” Myers (D-Pa.) was charged with bribing an election official to help candidates who had either hired Myers or whom he favored to win for other reasons, the Justice Department revealed Thursday. 

Prosecutors allege the disgraced former congressman Myers conspired with and bribed a former judge to illegally add votes for candidates of their mutual party in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 primary elections. 

The former judge, Domenick Demuro, previously pleaded guilty in federal court in Philadelphia. He had been responsible for overseeing the entire election process for all voter activities in his division, according to the Justice Department release. 

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“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 a 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.”

Myers, 77, represented Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional District between 1976 and 1980. He was expelled from Congress and convicted after he was caught taking bribes in the Abscam sting investigation, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer

Myers is charged with bribing Demuro to illegally add votes for certain candidates, including some whose campaigns had hired Myers as a campaign consultant. Others were candidates for various federal, state and local elected offices whom “Myers favored for a variety of reasons,” according to the Justice Department. 

According to the indictment, Myers would allegedly solicit payments from his clients in the form of cash or checks as “consulting fees” and then used portions of the funds to pay Demuro and others in return for tampering with election results. 

Demuro, after receiving payments ranging from $300 to $5,000 per election from the consultant, would allegedly add fraudulent votes on the voting machine for Myers’s clients and preferred candidates. The former judge, at Myers's direction, would also add fraudulent votes to the total during Election Day and would later certify that the voting machine results were accurate.