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December 3, 2003
LA Faces An Election Scandal

The LA Times breaks a story today about alleged election fraud in mayoral and City Council elections:

[John] Archibald and 13 of the Casden firm's subcontractors were indicted last month on charges of conspiring to illegally funnel more than $200,000 in campaign contributions during 2000 and 2001 to Los Angeles City Council members Jack Weiss and Wendy Greuel, City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo and Kathleen Connell, who was a candidate for mayor. Archibald and the subcontractors have pleaded not guilty to the felony charges and are free on their own recognizance.

Prosecutors said the Casden firm, which has a $100-million Westwood development pending before the city, had sought to buy influence with the contributions. Larry J. Higgins, owner of a Sun Valley termite-control company, testified that he had the impression that he needed to make the political donations as a condition for getting a contract from the Casden firm. He has been granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony.

This appears to be a tgypical shell-game conspiracy, where wealthy political contributors attempt to launder large political donations through their employees, except in this case, subcontractors were also pressured into laundering the donations. It's hard to judge how strong the case is until it goes to trial. But Angelenos aren't accustomed to election scandals in their city politics; LA has been relatively clean up until now, or at least LA politicians have been good at keeping up a clean appearance. Whether than image survives depends if elected officials are pulled into the case.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 3, 2003 5:43 AM

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