Kentucky Republicans convicted of election fraud

by Ben Hoffman
  • Freddy Thompson, 47, Republican Clay County Clerk, Chairman of the Board of Elections, 150 months (12 1/2 years): “As chairman of the board of elections, Thompson helped the Clay County elections board control the outcomes of the primary and general elections for the years 2002, 2004 and 2006. … He also instructed the officers how they could use the voting machines to steal votes. … As part of the scheme, Thompson and others switched the votes of county residents. … On more than one occasion, after the elections had ended Thompson helped prepare false election reports to be sent to Frankfort that intentionally contained inaccurate voting totals.”
  • Cletus Maricle, 67, Clay County Circuit Court Judge, 320 months (26 1/2+ years): “Described as the leader of a long running criminal enterprise that made millions of dollars and controlled politics in the county … Maricle helped create a culture of lawlessness in the county that existed for three decades. … Maricle led a scheme that used $400,000 to bribe 8,000 voters during the course of the conspiracy. … Maricle headed up the Clay County board of elections that controlled the outcomes of the primary and general elections for the years 2002, 2004 and 2006. … Maricle promised one female election officer a job and to help with her brother’s case, who was a defendant in Maricle’s court, if she promised to participate in the criminal enterprise by stealing votes as an election officer. … Maricle served as circuit court judge from 1991 until 2007.”
  • Douglas C. Adams, 59, Clay County School Superintendent, 293 months (Almost 24 1/2 years): “[O]ne of the most powerful individuals in Clay County … Adams recruited other members from the school board to join the conspiracies and used his power to bribe others to get prominent jobs in the county for individuals who cooperated with the conspiracies. … Prosecutors described Adams as a political boss and a conspiracy leader in the county who used his influence over others to corrupt the election process in the county. … As a result, the enterprise gained power and authority over the county’s politics. … Smith said Adams solicited bribe money from candidates for city and county offices. He told the candidates that they had to contribute money to the enterprise in order to get elected. … Testimony proved that he also bribed other county residents to join the criminal scheme. In one instance, he promised an individual that drug charges against him would be dropped if he joined the enterprise.”
  • Stanley Bowling, 60, former Magistrate, 180 months (15 years): “Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Parman described Bowling as a ‘crucial cog’ in the conspiracy to fix elections. … [U.S. District Judge Danny] Reeves recommended that Bowling, who suffers from multiple medical conditions, serve his time at a federal medical facility near his home.”
  • Paul Bishop, 61, Republican Precinct Judge 36 months (3 years) after pleading guilty and cooperating with prosecutors: “Reeves credited Bishop…for his cooperation with the government and reduced his potential sentence because of his age, poor health and other factors. … Bishop admitted he allowed Adams to use his garage for a meeting where vote-buying was discussed. … At that meeting before the May 2002 primary election, candidates pooled at least $150,000 to be used to buy votes. … Bishop also said he served as an election officer in the early, absentee voting in May 2002, working inside the polling place to make sure people who had sold their votes cast ballots for the people they’d been paid to support. … [Also] Bishop said that in 2004, Clay County school Superintendent Douglas C. Adams gave him $2,000 to bribe voters. Bishop said he paid around 100 voters about $20 each to vote for a slate of candidates that included state Rep. Tim Couch. … Couch, a Hyden Republican, had defeated Rep. Barbara White Colter in the 2002 GOP primary and was running for re-election in 2004. … Bishop said people involved in the scheme pooled $150,000 to $250,000 at a meeting in his garage days before the 2002 primary election.”
  • William E. Stivers, 58, Board of Elections Officer, 292 months (24+ years): “As an election officer, Stivers helped control the Clay County board of elections … Testimony at last year’s trial proved that during the elections, Stivers helped ensure victories for the candidates the conspirators wanted in office by changing votes at the voting machines, paying voters, and recruiting others to transport voters to the polls for the purpose of vote buying among other illegal actions.”
  • Charles Wayne Jones, 71, Board of Elections Commissioner (father-in-law of County Clerk and Board Chair Thompson), 240 months (20 years): “A former democratic election commissioner in Clay County … Jones picked election officers who assisted in corrupting the voting process at Jones’ direction. Jones also gave specific instructions to the officers on how to manipulate the voting machines to steal votes. This was done so that the enterprise could ensure victory for the slate of candidates they wanted in county offices. … Jones also intentionally prepared false election reports to be sent to Frankfort that inaccurately reported voting totals to help conceal the conspiracy.”

    [NOTE: Though Jones is said to have been a “Democratic” official, most of the gamed elections were Republican primaries, as Clay County is one of the poorest and most Republican counties in the state. Generally, the winner of the Republican primary in many races would go on to run unopposed in the general, or otherwise win it handily. Moreover, during the course of the trial, as we reported last year, at least one witness testified that, after being asked to do so by Judge Maricle, she changed her party affiliation from Republican in order to serve as a “Democratic” official at the polling place in order to help pull off the conspiracy by changing voters’ votes at the touch-screen machine after they thought their vote had been cast. As Jones was also the father-in-law of Republican County Clerk Freddy Thompson, Jones’ party affiliation is likely to have been as much a matter of convenience in order to help pull off the years of criminal conspiracies to steal elections, rather than a true conviction to the Democratic Party. In any case, the conspiracies here seemed to be much more about money and power than about party ideology.]

  • William B. Morris, 52 and Debra L. Morris, 51, 240 months (20 years) and 120 months (10 years), respectively: “The couple bought votes for individuals running for city council because those council candidates controlled contracts related to their sanitation company to perform city work. The company was given millions of dollars worth of contracts as a result of the criminal enterprise. … Both defendants distributed some of that money to absentee voters and to other conspirators to buy votes. They also transported voters to the courthouse where other co-defendants stole their votes.”

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I can see the responses by right-wing sheep already… “But ACORN did… ummm… Democrats do it too… ummmmm…”

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