A federal prosecutor in eastern Kentucky has been leading the fight against what he says is a vote-buying culture in which major cocaine and marijuana dealers have admitted to buying votes to steal elections.
“We believe that drug money did buy votes,” Kerry Harvey, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, told Fox News
on Wednesday. The scheme he described to Fox included “very extensive, organized criminal activity, involving hundreds of thousands of dollars, and in many cases that involves drug money.”
Harvey, with his team and state authorities, has led several federal prosecutions exposing the widespread and accepted practice of vote buying in eastern Kentucky. Two people convicted in April in one case face sentencing this week, while another public official pleaded guilty on Tuesday to conspiracy, Fox reports.
The problem, rooted in the communities for generations, apparently arises from economic woes, which is why votes are routinely for sale, according to Fox. Jobs are scarce in eastern Kentucky and poverty is high.
Controlling local government means controlling jobs, Fox reports.
“These folks go out and hijack the local elections for their own purposes, and then they use those jobs to enrich themselves and their confederates,” Harvey explained to Fox. “It really is a terrible problem and it has to be stopped.”
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