Former Congressman Michael ‘Ozzie’ Myers Pleads Guilty To Ballot-Stuffing Fraud

(Photo by LOGAN CYRUS/AFP via Getty Images)

Sarah Wilder Social Issues Reporter
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A former congressman pleaded guilty Monday to charges of violating election law, conspiracy, bribery and obstruction.

Former Democratic Rep. Michael J. “Ozzie” Myers bribed Pennsylvania election judges between 2014 and 2018 to stuff ballots in favor of his favorite judicial candidates. One of the election judges Myers bribed was Domenick J. Demuro, who also pleaded guilty.

An indictment filed in August 2020 and unsealed Thursday found that “Defendant Myers exercised influence and control in Philadelphia’s 39th Ward by distributing cash payments and supporting family, friends, and allies for elective office in the 39th Ward.”

The indictment stated that Myers’ fraudulent plan “advanced his political and financial interests through fraudulent and corrupt means by engaging in a ‘ballot stuffing’ scheme that enabled him to take credit for the electoral success of his Philadelphia-based clients and preferred candidates, secure his standing in local party politics that enabled him to control and influence the 39th Ward, and influence the distribution of local patronage jobs.”

Demuro received bribes ranging from $300 to $5,000 for each election he tampered with, according to the indictment. (RELATED: POLL: 80% of Americans Support Photo ID For Voters, 71% Support ‘Easier’ Early Voting)

“Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy. If even one vote has been illegally cast or if the integrity of just one election official is compromised, it diminishes faith in process,” United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams said in a Monday press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Myers had previously been convicted in the famous FBI ABSCAM sting operation in 1980. The incident ended his career as a Pennsylvania representative and he was sentenced to three years in prison for accepting a bribe given by FBI agents posing as Arab sheiks.

“One thing you can say about Ozzie Myers: his values have long been out of whack,” Jacqueline Maguire, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division, said in a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office. “Decades ago, he valued a fake sheikh’s bribes more than the ethical obligations of his elected federal office. This time around, he valued his clients’ money and his own whims more than the integrity of multiple elections and the will of Philadelphia voters.”