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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rep. Joe Garcia’s chief of staff implicated in phantom absentee-ballot requests scheme

Miami Herald's Patricia Mazzei:

Congressman Joe Garcia’s chief of staff abruptly resigned Friday after being implicated in a sophisticated scheme to manipulate last year’s primary elections by submitting hundreds of fraudulent absentee-ballot requests.

Friday afternoon, Garcia said he had asked Jeffrey Garcia, no relation, for his resignation after the chief of staff — also the congressman’s top political strategist — took responsibility for the plot. Hours earlier, law enforcement investigators raided the homes of another of Joe Garcia’s employees and a former campaign aide in connection with an ongoing criminal investigation into the matter.

“I’m shocked and disappointed about this,” Garcia, who said he was unaware of the scheme, told The Miami Herald. “This is something that hit me from left field. Until today, I had no earthly idea this was going on.”

Jeffrey Garcia, 40, declined to comment. He also worked last year on the campaign of Democrat Patrick Murphy of Jupiter, who unseated tea-party Republican congressman Allen West. Murphy has not been implicated in the phantom-requests operation.

Full story here.

[Last modified: Saturday, June 1, 2013 6:26pm]

    

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