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VOTE: FBI Ran Fake Candidate in Vote Buying Sting Operation

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posted on Dec, 2 2005 @ 05:57 PM
Thomas E. Esposito was on the ballot as a candidate for the West Virginia House of Delegates in the 2004 Democratic Primary, but he never intended to take office. He agreed to run as part of an FBI sting operation into illegal vote buying in Larson County, WV, a place where buying and selling votes is apparently a quite normal part of the local election process. After several arrests were made, the FBI disclosed the operation to voters and Esposito withdrew, yet he still garnered over 2,000 votes in the election.
The three men were sitting in a car outside a rural elementary school in West Virginia when the candidate handed over $2,000 in cash and said, "Buy all the votes you can."

In the hamlets and hollows of Logan County, where political shenanigans are legendary and it's said that a vote can be bought for a pint of whiskey or a $10 bill, some say there was nothing extraordinary about the transaction.

Here's what made it unusual: Although Thomas E. Esposito was on the ballot as a candidate for the state House of Delegates, he wasn't really running for office.

The small-town lawyer and former mayor was just bait. And when the FBI lowered him into the murky waters of southern West Virginia politics last year, it dangled him like a shiny lure.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

I think this story shows how imaginative the FBI can be while conducting its investigatory work.

The people caught by this sting tried to get the case dismissed saying the FBI's actions were illegal, but the judge didn't buy it. Esposito is a real person and did file all necessary paperwork to run, so he really was a valid candidate even though he was just the FBI's bait.

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