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FBI Plants Sham Candidate in W.Va. Race
SF Gate & AP ^ | December 2, 2005 | LAWRENCE MESSINA

Posted on 12/02/2005 8:45:17 PM PST by SmithL

Charleston, W.Va. -- Thomas Esposito's campaign for the Legislature seemed to be following the usual pattern. The longtime Democratic mayor issued press releases, raised money and bought newspaper ads. Signs bearing his name popped up in yards around rural Logan County.

But less than a month before the May 2004 primary election, Esposito dropped out, saying he had to withdraw because of his ailing mother-in-law.

The real reason surfaced only later: The FBI had planted Esposito among the field of candidates to help find evidence of vote-buying in southern West Virginia.

Federal prosecutors say the gambit worked.

They allege Esposito gave $2,000 in government-supplied money to a resident who had offered to bribe voters on his behalf.

They also credit the undercover sting operation for last year's guilty pleas by the sheriff of Logan County and the police chief in the coal-mining city of Logan, who both admitted to election violations.

(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: West Virginia
KEYWORDS: corruption; esposito; fbi; thomasesposito; votebuying; votefraud; voterfraud; westbygodvirginia
Dayum!
1 posted on 12/02/2005 8:45:18 PM PST by SmithL
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To: SmithL

Yup. AND he ran as a Democrat. Says a lot. Wonder how many Repubbies a scam like that would come up with.


2 posted on 12/02/2005 8:47:06 PM PST by Bloody Sam Roberts (This is my tagline. There are many like it but this one is mine.)
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To: SmithL

Standard practice for local elections around here. Makes me sick how corrupt the WV Democrats are, I'm sure it's not much different in most states tho.


3 posted on 12/02/2005 8:47:31 PM PST by wvobiwan (It's OUR Net! If you don't like it keep your stanky routers off it!)
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To: SmithL

Doesn't take much to prompt this guy to make a bribe.


4 posted on 12/02/2005 8:48:48 PM PST by Brilliant
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To: SmithL

'Rats buying votes - unbelievable...{/naivete}.....


5 posted on 12/02/2005 8:49:29 PM PST by Intolerant in NJ
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To: SmithL

They used a Dim for this sting...figures, and it's good to see that the FBI isn't too PC to profile the corrupt pols.


6 posted on 12/02/2005 8:49:58 PM PST by JRios1968 ("Cogito, ergo FReep": I think, therefore I FReep.)
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To: SmithL
GOP culture of corruption again.
7 posted on 12/02/2005 8:55:38 PM PST by Mike Darancette (Mesocons for Rice '08)
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To: Bloody Sam Roberts
"Wonder how many Repubbies a scam like that would come up with."
Money is ecumenical and does not know party affiliations. If local officials were D's, then it was the D's who got scooped. What is the name of that (R) congressman who just got nabbed for bribe taking?
8 posted on 12/02/2005 9:01:50 PM PST by GSlob
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To: SmithL
This may be barely relevent, but...

No wonder the WV politicians hate Hiram Lewis, they know he can't be bought.

9 posted on 12/02/2005 9:05:41 PM PST by smoothsailing
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To: JRios1968

Would you believe it if a Republican conservative showed up and offered to pay you to buy votes for him?

Personally, I'd think it was a sting operation.


10 posted on 12/02/2005 9:12:21 PM PST by coconutt2000 (NO MORE PEACE FOR OIL!!! DOWN WITH TYRANTS, TERRORISTS, AND TIMIDCRATS!!!! (3-T's For World Peace))
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To: SmithL

They approporiately ran him as a Democrat to uncover voter fraud.


11 posted on 12/02/2005 9:16:07 PM PST by Republican Wildcat
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To: SmithL
The FBI has no business interfering in elections. This is way over the line.
12 posted on 12/02/2005 9:16:46 PM PST by jordan8
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To: jordan8

Surely, you sarc!


13 posted on 12/02/2005 9:19:20 PM PST by citabria (Zoom, zoom, Boom, boom)
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To: coconutt2000

I hate to say it...I really do...but what if it were Duke Cunningham? Actually I would still think it was a sting.


14 posted on 12/02/2005 9:22:09 PM PST by JRios1968 ("Cogito, ergo FReep": I think, therefore I FReep.)
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To: JRios1968

And don't call me Shirley!


15 posted on 12/02/2005 9:27:21 PM PST by SmithL (There are a lot of people that hate Bush more than they hate terrorists)
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To: SmithL
And don't call me Shirley!


16 posted on 12/02/2005 9:31:02 PM PST by JRios1968 ("Cogito, ergo FReep": I think, therefore I FReep.)
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To: jordan8
This is way over the line.

Ahahaha!

17 posted on 12/02/2005 10:15:24 PM PST by FEARED MUTATION
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To: jordan8

HAHAHA!


18 posted on 12/02/2005 10:18:16 PM PST by Echo Talon (http://echotalon.blogspot.com)
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To: SmithL

"Ah'm the high sheriff 'round here, boy. Ah'll get yo ass elected if'n the price is right, knowwhutahmean?"


19 posted on 12/02/2005 11:16:35 PM PST by snarks_when_bored
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To: jordan8

Sarcasm or not, I agree. This had a high likelyhood of affecting the election one way or another - no I'm not talking about the vote buying, but the presence of a seemingly real candidate on the ballot, raising money, campaigning...


20 posted on 12/03/2005 12:09:15 AM PST by D-fendr
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To: SmithL
In other WV news..

Pageant crowns Miss West Virginia USA & Miss Teen West Virginia

21 posted on 12/03/2005 12:23:27 AM PST by csvset
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To: SmithL

And, of course, the democrats will deny election cheating by their operatives, even when they are caught in the act.


22 posted on 12/03/2005 4:28:50 AM PST by highlander_UW (I don't know what my future holds, but I know Who holds my future)
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To: csvset
This ain't yer granddaddy's WV! ;-)

23 posted on 12/03/2005 4:34:56 AM PST by Gondring (I'll give up my right to die when hell freezes over my dead body!)
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To: D-fendr
There's no sarcasm involved. It's an example of the contempt the rulers of the budding police state we live in have for our system that democracy itself has become just another prop to be used when it's convenient. And someone once said that the definition of a good police force is one that solves more crimes than it commits. The FBI and Justice Department people who signed off on this should be arrested for fraud.

Nor is it a coincidence that this has taken place in West Virginia. Vote buying? Please. You could bring such charges in any major city in America, particularly in the minority areas. Can you imagine the outrage if the FBI put up a fake black candidate in D.C.? They can only get away with it in West Virginia because of decades of demonization that has led to places like West Virginia and the people who live there being considered to be lesser citizens, hell lesser humans, than other people. As if to drive home the point, one editorial in Slate even managed to work in the word "Deliverance" into its title.

24 posted on 12/03/2005 8:29:39 AM PST by jordan8
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To: jordan8; D-fendr; Echo Talon; citabria
It's an example of the contempt the rulers of the budding police state we live in have for our system that democracy itself has become just another prop to be used when it's convenient.

I guess a vote buying sting should be conducted in a year with no elections?

You could bring such charges in any major city in America, particularly in the minority areas.

Exactly. So much for that prop you call democracy. Until we stop vote fraud in America we don't have a democracy. If only real votes were counted in 2000 Bush would have won Wisconsin and New Mexico, not to mention Florida by a cheat proof margin.

25 posted on 12/03/2005 9:42:59 AM PST by Toddsterpatriot (The Federal Reserve did not kill JFK. Greenspan was not on the grassy knoll.)
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To: Toddsterpatriot
Until we stop vote fraud

I'm am very much supportive of this. However, LE should be able to do so without distorting the election process.

26 posted on 12/03/2005 9:53:25 AM PST by D-fendr
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To: SmithL
Good catch Smith, you were first up with this.

West Virginia has been a Rat election fraud stronghold at least since they fixed the election of Kennedy there in '60.

Also this shows that there are sections of FBI that are not politically controlled by the Rats. What is not commonly considered is how lefties have infiltrated the alphabet agencies and subverted them from constitutional duty to political duty. Here the FBI adapted to entrenched Rat corruption, and got around local control of investigations and prosecutions. One interesting quote was: “if Esposito were to become a candidate for elective office, a virtual treasure trove of evidence could result”. More evidence=more patriot act warrants. This might be the first episode in a series.

This also speaks to the mistake W made in not cleaning out the alphabet agencies in 2001, as there are factions attempting to cover this sort of fraud rather than prosecute it.

27 posted on 12/03/2005 10:01:36 AM PST by Navy Patriot
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To: Toddsterpatriot
When has nothing to do with it, it's how. I suppose I shouldn't be shocked, but I am a little, over how Freepers respond to this episode, treating it as if the only thing that matters is party politics. If this was fake Republican candidate (and a criminal coerced to run by a plea bargain, no less) that sucked up 2000 votes this board would be outraged, and rightfully so.
28 posted on 12/03/2005 10:33:59 AM PST by jordan8
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To: jordan8

I'm not sure this is way over the line. If whistleblowers are giving info that there is fraud and corruption in our political system there must be a way to clean house.

Innocent players have nothing to worry about. It's about time corrupt individuals doing the people's business be sent home if they are more concerned with self interest. JMHO


29 posted on 12/03/2005 10:45:00 AM PST by swheats
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To: jordan8; D-fendr; swheats
When has nothing to do with it, it's how. I suppose I shouldn't be shocked, but I am a little, over how Freepers respond to this episode, treating it as if the only thing that matters is party politics.

I'd be concerned about Republican vote fraud too. It's just that at least 95% of the fraud is Dems.

If this was fake Republican candidate (and a criminal coerced to run by a plea bargain, no less) that sucked up 2000 votes this board would be outraged, and rightfully so.

You've got to reread that article: But less than a month before the May 2004 primary election, Esposito dropped out, saying he had to withdraw because of his ailing mother-in-law.

He didn't suck up any votes.

Innocent players have nothing to worry about.

Exactly.

30 posted on 12/03/2005 10:53:07 AM PST by Toddsterpatriot (The Federal Reserve did not kill JFK. Greenspan was not on the grassy knoll.)
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To: Toddsterpatriot
Because Esposito had not dropped out until mid-April 2004, his name remained on the May primary ballot. He received 2,175 votes, coming in last among 10 candidates.
31 posted on 12/03/2005 10:57:41 AM PST by jordan8
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To: Toddsterpatriot


These people actively disenfranchise their fellow americans.

Let's see some frogmarching!!!!


32 posted on 12/03/2005 10:59:55 AM PST by Wristpin ( Varitek says to A-Rod: "We don't throw at .260 hitters.....")
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To: jordan8
I'm all for IQ tests before voting.
33 posted on 12/03/2005 11:00:03 AM PST by Toddsterpatriot (The Federal Reserve did not kill JFK. Greenspan was not on the grassy knoll.)
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To: Toddsterpatriot

While I appreciate that he dropped out, an election is not only determined on election day or even a month out. Elections are affected by all the politics involved during the campaign.

Who runs, who supports whom, who works for whom, who contibutes to what campaign, etc. are all dynamic factors affecting an election.

Running the mayor as a bogus candidate distorted the election. It is a matter of degree just how much. What I'm objecting to is this distortion. I would like the FBI to catch crooks with the minimal possible effect on the lawful election process.


34 posted on 12/03/2005 1:51:00 PM PST by D-fendr
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To: D-fendr
What I'm objecting to is this distortion.

Which distortion is larger, vote buying or running a fake candidate during the primaries?

How else does one catch corruption of this nature? How about the FBI going up to a legitimate candidate and entrapping them into buying votes?

35 posted on 12/03/2005 2:01:12 PM PST by Toddsterpatriot (The Federal Reserve did not kill JFK. Greenspan was not on the grassy knoll.)
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To: SmithL

The least he could have done was to offer some of the money to Robert KKK Byrd. I'm certain he woudl hvae taken it.


36 posted on 12/03/2005 8:08:57 PM PST by TBP
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To: Toddsterpatriot
Which distortion is larger, vote buying or running a fake candidate during the primaries?

False choice, but running a fake candidate could easily be the correct answer.

How else does one catch corruption of this nature?

By means that have less negative cost. A fake drug buyer sting is one thing, but a fake candidate for the legislature is another.

How about the FBI going up to a legitimate candidate and entrapping them into buying votes?

That would be a better method.

I'm from Texas, vote buying is widespread, common and well known in some areas. The problem here, and I imagine elsewhere, is not lack of evidence or witnesses, but lack of honest LE at the local and state level.I really don't think the Feds would have to run a fake candidate or entrap a real one. Surveilance and good basic investigation and evidence gathering would work.

thanks for your reply..

37 posted on 12/04/2005 2:29:26 AM PST by D-fendr
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To: D-fendr
How about the FBI going up to a legitimate candidate and entrapping them into buying votes?

That would be a better method.

The problem is you'd have to hit all the candidates. It wouldn't be fair otherwise. And wouldn't it be embarrassing to indict all the candidates before an election? Wouldn't that be a bigger distortion?

I'm from Texas, vote buying is widespread, common and well known in some areas.

I'm from Chicago where vote buying is cheaper because the dead don't charge much :^)

38 posted on 12/04/2005 9:51:21 AM PST by Toddsterpatriot (The Federal Reserve did not kill JFK. Greenspan was not on the grassy knoll.)
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To: Toddsterpatriot

I said it would be a better method, not the best.

I'm not a fan of stings in most cases anyway, but I would guess the act would have to be completed, indictment likely after the election.

I'm still voting for old fashioned investigation, interrogation, evidence gathering...

I would dearly love for vote fraud to be discovered and prosecuted severely; running a fake candidate is just not the way, IMHO.


39 posted on 12/04/2005 11:15:03 AM PST by D-fendr
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