Former state senator Frank Artiles charged in spoiler candidate scheme - CNNPolitics

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  sandy-2021492  •  one month ago  •  25 comments

By:   Scott Glover, Curt Devine and Audrey Ash (CNN)

Former state senator Frank Artiles charged in spoiler candidate scheme - CNNPolitics
A former Florida state senator who resigned in disgrace four years ago was charged Thursday with campaign finance violations related to a hotly contested state Senate race in the 2020 election, authorities said.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



(CNN)A former Florida state senator who resigned in disgrace four years ago was charged Thursday with campaign finance violations related to a hotly contested state Senate race in the 2020 election, authorities said.

Frank Artiles, 47, turned himself in to authorities in Miami one day after his home was searched by investigators with the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office.

The county's top prosecutor, Katherine Fernandez Rundle, accused Artiles at a news conference on Thursday afternoon of paying an old friend almost $45,000 to mount a fake candidacy intended to illegally sway the election.

Artiles, a Republican operative with a reputation for a foul mouth and sharp elbows, is accused of financing a sham candidate whose candidacy was intended to siphon votes from a legitimate Democratic candidate in a state Senate race in South Florida's 37th District. The candidate has the same last name as then-Democratic incumbent Jose Javier Rodriguez but did not actively campaign for the seat and has since admitted being recruited as a spoiler.

That man, Alexis P. Rodriguez, 55, was also charged in connection with the scheme.   Artiles and Rodriguez face identical charges: making or receiving two or more campaign contributions over or in excess of the limits; conspiracy to make or receive two or more campaign contributions over or in excess of the limits and false swearing in connection with voting or elections.

"We are alleging these various payments blatantly violated Florida election laws," Fernandez Rundle said. "These payments were intended to influence the outcome of the election."

The Republican candidate, Ileana Garcia, an ardent supporter of former President Donald Trump, narrowly won the race by just 32 votes.

Fernandez Rundle said there was no evidence that Garcia had any knowledge of the scheme.

A spokeswoman for Garcia said the newly elected senator had never met Artiles. In a text to a CNN reporter shortly before Artiles surrendered, his defense attorney, Greg Chonillo, said his client "has been cooperative since the inception of this investigation as well as during the execution of the search warrant. Due to the nature of the charges and potential litigation, we will not comment on any information related to this matter. We fully intend to defend any charges in Court."

Attorney William Barzee, who represents candidate Rodriguez, told CNN: "Frank Artiles and his co-conspirators knew they couldn't beat Jose Javier Rodriguez in a fair election so they rigged it. Artiles cynically targeted and used a vulnerable 'friend' with a great name to run in the race in order to confuse voters and steal the election. Alex Rodriguez deeply regrets allowing himself to be used in this way and hopes that by coming forth with the truth he can help to right these wrongs."

Rodriguez was also taken into custody in connection with the case, a corrections official in Miami-Dade County told CNN.

Questions began swirling last year in Florida media and political circles about the 37th District election, as CNN reported in November.

Even before his arrest, Artiles was a controversial figure in Florida politics. According to the Miami Herald, in 2014 he was secretly recorded referring to Muslims as "hajis," and then later, in 2017, he used the n-word and other derogatory language while speaking to Black Florida senators.

Artiles later apologized for the remarks, the first of two incidents that ultimately forced him to step down as state senator.

CNN's Drew Griffin contributed to this report.


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sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
1  seeder  sandy-2021492    one month ago
Artiles, a Republican operative with a reputation for a foul mouth and sharp elbows, is accused of financing a sham candidate whose candidacy was intended to siphon votes from a legitimate Democratic candidate in a state Senate race in South Florida's 37th District. The candidate has the same last name as then-Democratic incumbent Jose Javier Rodriguez but did not actively campaign for the seat and has since admitted being recruited as a spoiler.
 
 
 
devangelical
PhD Principal
1.1  devangelical  replied to  sandy-2021492 @1    one month ago

this is exactly why I find any claims of election fraud by trumpsters so hilarious.

 
 
 
SteevieGee
Junior Silent
1.1.1  SteevieGee  replied to  devangelical @1.1    one month ago

If they say the Dems are doing something the Repubs are actually doing it.  Bet on it.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
1.1.2  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  devangelical @1.1    one month ago

Exactly.

 
 
 
devangelical
PhD Principal
1.1.3  devangelical  replied to  SteevieGee @1.1.1    one month ago

projection, deflection, and misdirection...

 
 
 
SteevieGee
Junior Silent
1.1.4  SteevieGee  replied to  devangelical @1.1.3    one month ago

Suppression, gerrymandering, and false narratives...

 
 
 
devangelical
PhD Principal
1.1.5  devangelical  replied to  SteevieGee @1.1.4    one month ago

massive campaign support from criminal dictators and autocrats, oligarchs, and enemy intelligence agencies... 

 
 
 
SteevieGee
Junior Silent
1.1.6  SteevieGee  replied to  devangelical @1.1.5    one month ago

extortion, bunco schemes, and Jewish death rays.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
2  Trout Giggles    one month ago

They just can't win without cheating

 
 
 
SteevieGee
Junior Silent
2.1  SteevieGee  replied to  Trout Giggles @2    one month ago

They really can't.  They've only won the popular vote for President once since 1988.

 
 
 
Texan1211
PhD Principal
2.1.1  Texan1211  replied to  SteevieGee @2.1    one month ago
They really can't.  They've only won the popular vote for President once since 1988.

And if we change the way we elect Presidents, that comment will become meaningful.

 
 
 
Ozzwald
PhD Quiet
2.1.2  Ozzwald  replied to  Texan1211 @2.1.1    one month ago

And if we change the way we elect Presidents, that comment will become meaningful.

Because you feel the will of the people in America should not count? 

Or are you for changing the way we elect our representatives, to reflect the will of the people?

 
 
 
devangelical
PhD Principal
2.1.3  devangelical  replied to  Texan1211 @2.1.1    one month ago
And if we change the way we elect Presidents, that comment will become meaningful.

thanks for admitting historical facts are meaningless.

 
 
 
Texan1211
PhD Principal
2.1.4  Texan1211  replied to  devangelical @2.1.3    one month ago

Thanks for showing you didn't understand my comment.

 
 
 
Texan1211
PhD Principal
2.1.5  Texan1211  replied to  Ozzwald @2.1.2    one month ago
Because you feel the will of the people in America should not count? 

No, because I understand how Presidents are elected.

Or are you for changing the way we elect our representatives, to reflect the will of the people?

I see nothing wrong with how we elect them now. I am not pushing for change, others do that.

 
 
 
Ozzwald
PhD Quiet
2.1.6  Ozzwald  replied to  Texan1211 @2.1.5    one month ago
I see nothing wrong with how we elect them now.

So you see nothing wrong with the people NOT being able to select the next POTUS.

I am not pushing for change, others do that.

So you are against all the new election laws that red states are trying to enact.  Glad to hear it.

 
 
 
Texan1211
PhD Principal
2.1.7  Texan1211  replied to  Ozzwald @2.1.6    4 weeks ago
So you see nothing wrong with the people NOT being able to select the next POTUS.

Nope, I like the system devised by our founding fathers.

So you are against all the new election laws that red states are trying to enact.  Glad to hear it.

[removed]

 
 
 
Texan1211
PhD Principal
2.1.8  Texan1211  replied to  Ozzwald @2.1.6    4 weeks ago
So you are against all the new election laws that red states are trying to enact.  Glad to hear it.

Where did you get that nonsense from?

 
 
 
Ozzwald
PhD Quiet
2.1.9  Ozzwald  replied to  Texan1211 @2.1.8    4 weeks ago

Where did you get that nonsense from?

From your own statements, which you will now try to walk back and deny any knowledge of.

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
PhD Guide
2.2  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  Trout Giggles @2    4 weeks ago

They still didn't win even with the cheating.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2.2.1  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @2.2    4 weeks ago

They did win the election discussed in the article, by a narrow margin.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
3  Kavika     one month ago

There are two other races in Florida that had the same situation, hopefully they will be investigated as well.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Participates
4  Sean Treacy    one month ago

Imagine thinking Democrats don’t do that.....

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
PhD Guide
5  Paula Bartholomew    4 weeks ago

Gee, he is a Republican.  Color  me so shocked.

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
5.1  Split Personality  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @5    4 weeks ago
Even if Alex Rodriguez was recruited only to siphon votes away from the Democrat Rodriguez, that is not against the law. But lying on state campaign paperwork -- as Democrats allege -- is. 

Jose Rodriguez lost by 34 votes.  Alex Rodriguez siphoned away 6,300 votes as a "No Party" candidate who did not have a website or run a campaign.

The razor-thin victory that delivered Latinas for Trump co-founder Ileana Garcia to the Florida Senate and ousted Democrat José Javier Rodríguez continues to raise eyebrows for one reason: a mysterious third candidate named Alex Rodriguez.

Alex Rodriguez, a one-time mechanic with no history in local politics, never started a campaign website, attended no candidate forums and received no donations, save for a $2,000 loan from himself. Mailers pitching his name sent to voters in the Coral Gables area were sent by a shadowy political group that, so far, has been untraceable.

When a television reporter recently tracked Alex Rodriguez down, he pretended to be someone else .

So Florida voters were cheated out of a fair election. jrSmiley_87_smiley_image.gif

We will have to wait and see if anyone does the right thing, at minimum, the Republican House, Senate & Governor should make something this blatant illegal with some real penalties.

But Republicans in Florida are truly more concerned with restricting mail in voting and eliminating County Drop Boxes which worked particularly well in blue counties like Broward.

Florida Republicans’ push to change voting laws shows how deep false claims about mass voter fraud spread by Trump have burrowed into Republicans’ belief system. The party is now stampeding to solve a problem that most nonpartisan experts and courts say does not exist. Their efforts are threatening to dismantle years of bipartisan moves to boost voting in several states, including places where the GOP has thrived under the current system.

And it would result in making it more difficult to vote.

“We cannot comprehend where they’re coming from,” said Anjenys Gonzalez-Eilert of Florida Common Cause, noting the GOP has long been a supporter and beneficiary of mail voting in the state.


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