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FBI Plants Sham Candidate in W.Va. Race

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posted on Dec, 3 2005 @ 12:01 AM
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FBI Plants Sham Candidate in W.Va. Race

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - 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.

The chief judge of West Virginia's southern federal court district condoned the tactic Thursday in an election fraud case against Perry French Harvey Jr., the man who allegedly accepted the $2,000.

Judge David Faber rejected arguments from Harvey's lawyer that the government had acted improperly by putting up a sham candidate...



Wait a minute! While I'm all for stamping out corruption, why is this an appropriate government investigation tactic? I could easily see these types of "investigations" springing up everywhere, but for an entirely different purpose.

Why wasn't the election postponed to give a chance to legitimate candidates to participate?

This leaves me speechless.




posted on Dec, 3 2005 @ 06:10 AM
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Wow, I'm actually surprised they did something about it! I'm from W.Va, and there is all sort of corruption here. Mingo County, W.Va, is known for it's corrupted officials (via vote buying.) One of my friends here at school is from there, and he said he's been offered everything from $50-$200 for his vote. This state is corrupted from top to bottom. Like I said, I'm surprised they tried to do anything about it. People used to blame the coal mines for corrupting the officials, but coal has lost its economic hold in the state. I haven't heard this story yet, thanks for bringing it up (it's finals
)



posted on Dec, 3 2005 @ 09:30 AM
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I'm not entirely sure what to think in this case. Had their only been two candidates and the voters were left to choose between the sham candidate and one legitimate candidate, then I would say that the FBI acted inappropriately. But in this case there was something like 10 candidates to choose from, and the sham candidate was revealed before the vote.

If the Feds had exhausted all other reasonable avenues to bring corrupt officials to justice then I would have no problem with what they did here. Rather then allow these crimes to continue unpunished, the FBI made a bold decision that has since been upheld in a court of law. Sometimes extraordinary measures must be taken to combat out of control crime. So long as this doesn't become a regular occurance then I can't say that I have much of a gripe with what the Feds did. I mean, if you think about it just about every candidate is a sham for some group or corporation, so we can't really fault the FBI for sponsoring a candidate of their own. LOL. And at least he withdrew from the election (despite his name remaining on the ballot).

All that being said, I can understand some peoples' concern with what went on here. I think your complaints are justifiable. But in this case the ends did justify the means, as a multitude of charges have, and may continue to, arise from this investigation.



posted on Dec, 6 2005 @ 02:12 AM
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Originally posted by loam

Wait a minute! While I'm all for stamping out corruption, why is this an appropriate government investigation tactic? I could easily see these types of "investigations" springing up everywhere, but for an entirely different purpose.


Yes, it does seem to be a potentially disturbing precedent. It reminds me of the John De Lorean case. No crime without the government and whatnot.

What exactly is known about this Perry French Harvey Jr.? Was he suspected to be involved in West Virginia's corruption problem? I can't find any information indicating to me that he was. Could it be, then, that he is no more than a patsy who couldn't resist the $2000 he was offered?


Originally posted by ByzantineIcon]
Wow, I'm actually surprised they did something about it! I'm from W.Va, and there is all sort of corruption here.

I have trouble buying the idea that arresting this apparently unknown individual helps the corruption problem in the state. Maybe I'm missing the point, but this whole situation fails to pass my smell test.

[edit on 6-12-2005 by coerciblegerm]

[edit on 6-12-2005 by coerciblegerm]



posted on Dec, 6 2005 @ 04:59 PM
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Who knows what other politicians are plants? Bush? Kerry? How many sleeper agents are elected now?



posted on Dec, 6 2005 @ 09:07 PM
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Hey, curme, just a question.
Does it really make any difference if there are more plants when we have so many puppets in government office



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