Giancarlo Sopo, Congressman Joe Garcia’s communications director who has been ensnared in an ongoing criminal investigation into fraudulent absentee-ballot requests, has resigned.
Sopo informed Garcia, a Miami Democrat, of his resignation Friday, Garcia’s office confirmed Monday.
“I thanked him for his service to our office,” Garcia said. “I understand that he is cooperating with investigators and hope that this will give him an opportunity to resolve this matter.”
Sopo declined to comment. His attorney, Gus Lage, said Sopo resigned “for personal and financial reasons, and also because he didn’t want to be a further distraction to the congressman’s work.”
Sopo had been placed on unpaid administrative leave last month, days after Miami-Dade prosecutors and police raided his cousin’s home in connection with the scheme to request ballots online for nearly 500 unsuspecting voters in the Aug. 14 Democratic primary. Garcia said at the time that he did not immediately fire Sopo — opening the congressman to criticism from Republicans — because Sopo told Garcia he wasn’t involved in the plot.
Sopo recruited his friends or family to assist, Lage said — presumably either to compile or submit the ballot requests.
“If there was any illegality to what was done, Mr. Sopo did not appreciate that at the time,” Lage said, adding that he has met with prosecutors investigating the case. “If there was, he wouldn’t have had his cousin, sister and friends of his do this.”
Garcia swiftly dismissed former chief of staff and top political adviser Jeffrey Garcia, no relation, when he admitted to his boss that he orchestrated the attempt to manipulate the election.
This post has been updated with comments from Joe Garcia and Gus Lage.