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Cutler Bay mayor and Joe Garcia challenger wants special prosecutor in absentee-ballot fraud case

@MarcACaputo

Ed MacDougall, the Cutler Bay mayor challenging U.S. Rep., Joe Garcia, wants a special prosecutor to examine an absentee-ballot fraud case tied to the congressman's former campaign team.

MacDougall said in a press release that the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office isn't acting quickly enough in charging three former campaign workers of Garcia's. Investigators in May raided three locations associated with two of the men.

Garcia's former campaign advisor and chief of staff, Jeffrey Garcia (no relation) took a measure of credit for the scheme and was promptly fired.

MacDougall, a Republican, also bashes the state attorney's office for not filing charges against Garcia's predecessor, Republican congressman David Rivera; however, by the time investigators began examining the charges against him the statute of limitations had tolled or the statutes were unclear. More here on that.

For this race, MacDougall said he wants to set up a website, StopMiamiElectionFraud.org, which he'll unveil at a press conference Wednesday.

Another Republican challenger, Miami-Dade School Board Member Carlos Curbelo, released a poll last month showing Garcia had a lead in the race for his reelection, but the scandal made him vulnerable.

Here's the press statement:

MIAMI, FL – Today marks the 381st day since Congressman Joe Garcia's political operatives – led by his Chief-of-Staff, Jeff Garcia – committed absentee ballot fraud in an attempt to hijack last August’s statewide primary election. It also marks the 53rd day since the congressman's admission – in his own words – of the "well-intentioned effort to maximize voter turnout."

Cutler Bay mayor and congressional candidate, Ed MacDougall, vented his frustration with State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle's handling of this most recent incident, and the obvious, rampant electoral fraud and political corruption in Miami-Dade County.

"As a former law enforcement officer, I can appreciate how complicated and time-consuming investigations can be, but not when the perpetrators fully admit their guilt. I don't understand what exactly she is waiting for. Perhaps she is waiting for the statute of limitations to run out, again?" The Mayor continued, "Just last year she allowed a high-profile case involving a Miami congressman to go beyond the statute of limitations. She had prepared a bill of information including 52 charges which she never brought forth. If that's the kind of effort to prosecute a Republican, we certainly can't expect much in investigating a fellow Democrat."

In February, Miami Herald reporter Patricia Mazzei discovered that hundreds of the fraudulent absentee ballot requests sent to the Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections originated from computers and Internet connections here in Miami-Dade County. For whatever reason this information was not presented to a grand jury last December, even though it was readily available from the Elections Office. It wasn't until Ms. Mazzei's findings that the state attorney executed search warrants at the homes of political operatives employed by Congressman Garcia. However, since that time the state attorney has not made any indictments.

As a result, Mayor MacDougall will announce a newly created website, StopMiamiElectionFraud.org, at a press conference this Wednesday, July 24th at 3:00 pm in front of the State Attorney's Office in Miami. The website will host a petition drive asking Governor Rick Scott to appoint a special prosecutor to wrap up this case before the statute of limitations runs out.

"Here we are, well more than a year after these felonies were committed, and not a single person has been indicted or arrested, despite the full admission of guilt by Congressman Garcia's campaign team." Shaking his head, Mayor MacDougall lamented, "I hate to say this, but I've lost faith in the ability of the State Attorney's Office to competently prosecute this case. The serviceman of our great country did not fight overseas to watch these pathetic cheaters whittle away our most basic and sacred right of honest and fair elections."

The Mayor also had some words for Congressman Garcia, "I guess I can understand why some campaigns can turn into lumbering, shiftless operations, but what I don't understand is why Mr. Garcia’s staff would think that he would not have a problem with this fraud? Did the congressman not make it clear that first-degree felonies on behalf of his campaign were a no-no? I believe there's much, much more to this story, and that's all the more reason to get a special prosecutor down here immediately."

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