Philadelphia political consultant tasked with forging signatures on election petitions in 2019
A Philadelphia political consultant faces criminal charges after allegedly forging signatures to get clients Democratic candidates on the city’s 2019 primary ballot, according to the attorney general’s office.
The charges announced Wednesday against political consultant Rasheen Crews, 46, stem from the May 2019 primary elections for the Philadelphia Court of Commons and Philadelphia Municipal Court. The petitions of nearly a dozen candidates show that more than a thousand signatures were duplicated, the Attorney General’s Office said in a statement.
According to the affidavit, Crews paid between $1.50 and $2.50 per signature from clients who wanted to complete the necessary paperwork to be on the Democratic ballot for the 2019 primary. However, the complaint states that, instead of collecting signatures legally, crews forged, or hired others to forge, signatures by renting hotel rooms where workers would copy names and addresses onto petition paperwork.
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Some pages were allegedly photocopied, or the names of voters found on the various petition pages did not live at the listed addresses, or identified voters who said they had not signed, the affidavit states.
Several of the candidates withdrew from the race in 2019, and two told an investigator in affidavits that they dropped out because they did not want to be associated with Crews or felt uncomfortable continuing in the race after the allegations. Several stayed on the primary ballot.
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Anthony Kyriakakis was eventually elected to the Common Pleas Court in 2019. His office had no comment on the charges. Other candidates have been elected in subsequent elections.
Crews was charged with two felonies, criminal solicitation to commit forgery and theft by failure to make required disposition. Arrest records released early Wednesday did not show any attorney information.
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“Ahead of the 2023 municipal elections, this arrest is an important reminder that interfering with the integrity of our elections is a serious crime,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who is also the Democratic governor-elect.