A Democratic Party leader and former judge of elections in Philadelphia admitted accepting cash bribes to tamper with the results of the city’s primary elections from 2014-2016, federal prosecutors announced Thursday.
Domenick J. Demuro, 73, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to deprive voters of their civil rights and violating the Travel Act, U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain said.
DeMuro faces up to 15 years in prison when he’s sentenced June 30.
“This defendant abused his office by engaging in election fraud for profit,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski said in a press release from the Justice Department. “Today’s conviction makes it clear that the Department of Justice will do all in its power to protect the integrity of elections and maintain public confidence in all levels of elected government.”
Demuro, a Committee Person for the Democratic Party and the Democratic Chairman of Ward 39a in the City of Philadelphia, admitted to taking cash bribes between $300 to $5,000 per election to stuff the ballot box in favor of certain candidates.
Demuro told the court that during his time as an election judge during the 2014 and 2016 elections, he would literally stand inside a voting booth and fill out dozens of blank ballots, as fast as he was able, whenever he thought it was safe.
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DeMuro admitted that a political consultant — whose name was not revealed by prosecutors — paid him bribes for adding these fraudulent votes to tip the vote for certain Democratic candidates running for judge positions. McSwain did not name the candidates and would not say if any of them won their elections, or if DeMuro’s actions tipped any close elections.
The consultant took fees from the candidates and used some of that money to pay Election Board officials, including Demuro, the Justice Department said.
“Domenick Demuro put a thumb on the scale for certain candidates, in exchange for bribes,” Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Driscoll of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division wrote in the DoJ’s statement. “
In total, prosecutors said Demuro fraudulently voted over 100 times.
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“During a May 2014 primary election, Demuro added 27 fraudulent ballots for candidates running for judicial positions on Pennsylvania’s court of common pleas, according to the indictment,” The Daily Caller reported.
“Demuro received a total of $2,500 in bribes to add 40 fraudulent ballots for three judicial candidates during a May 2015 primary election, the indictment shows. During a May 2016 primary election, Demuro added 46 fraudulent ballots for candidates running for federal, state and local offices, according to the indictment.”
“As public trust in the electoral process is vital, the FBI’s message today is clear: election interference of any kind, by hostile foreign actors or dishonest local officials, won’t be tolerated,” Driscoll wrote.
The FBI said they don’t believe Demuto’s actions were an isolated incident and asked for the public’s help in uncovering further election fraud.
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“This is an active, ongoing investigation and we’re asking anyone with information on election fraud to contact the FBI,” Driscoll wrote.
The Associated Press contributed to this article