What Texas officials said was a “voter fraud ring” operating in Fort Worth has been linked to a former official of the Tarrant County Texas Democratic Party, according to published reports.
Stuart Clegg, who was the executive director of the party at the time the 2016 activities were carried out, provided funds for the group’s activities, Breitbart reported, citing a court document.
The document said Leticia Sanchez, one of four women charged with voter fraud, distributed payments “from funds received from Stuart Clegg” to more than four women for engaging in “activities” such as “fraudulent altering (mail-in) applications and submitting them again by fax.”
“There was no conspiracy to defraud any election,” Clegg said, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
However, the Star-Telegram reported that the court document said Sanchez either obtained or had others obtain signatures under false pretenses and that all were involved in forging signatures.
The document further claims Sanchez had a file of fraudulent 2015 applications that she used in 2016, “generating fraudulent mail ballots that the voter did not request.”
Sanchez was indicted on one count of illegal voting, a second-degree felony, according to a news release from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, in addition to 16 felony counts of providing false information on an application for a mail ballot. Leticia Sanchez Tepichin was indicted on 10 counts of providing false information on an application for a mail ballot while Maria Solis was indicted on two counts of the same charge Laura Parra was indicted on one count. The release said the charges shut down an “organized voter fraud ring.”
The charges against Sanchez and the others said their activities were linked to a March 2016 Democratic primary election.
The court document said that Sanchez learned from an irate voter that an investigation was under way. At that point, she had Tepichin text message the others “conveying a message from Sanchez and Stuart Clegg to not cooperate with investigators,” the document said.
The Star-Telegram published what it said was a translated version of the message, which read, “Hello, there is a group of malicious people investigating our work. We have been told by our boss, Mr. Stuart, that we should not give any information. Just give them the phone number of the lawyer who is in charge of this matter. If anyone has contacted you, asked any type of questions, please tell us immediately so we can let the lawyer know. Notify immediately.”
Clegg brushed aside any allegation that there was anything sinister in his advice.
“I would tell anybody it’s a good idea, before you talk to investigators, to make sure you talk to an attorney,” Clegg said. “Isn’t that just general sense?”
Clegg said he has hired workers to legally canvass voters.
“We’ve trained them to follow the law and instruct them as best as we can but, like anything, we’re not with the actual worker the whole time,” he said. “I don’t believe the allegations the attorney general is making.”
“I know Leticia. I know that she’s a woman of fine character and I have no reason to believe that she would do anything illegal,” Clegg said. “Obviously, if I thought she was going to do anything illegal, I wouldn’t have hired her and I don’t believe that she did.”
The attorney general’s office said the ring used a process called vote harvesting.
“When ballots are mailed out by the election offices, harvesters attempt to either intercept the ballots outright, or to ‘assist’ elderly voters in voting their ballots while ensuring that the votes are cast for the candidates of the harvesters’ choice. In most cases, the voters do not even know their votes have been stolen,” the news release said.
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