Home Local Politics Another Criminal Indictment in Arlington’s “Change of Government Referendum” Debacle

Another Criminal Indictment in Arlington’s “Change of Government Referendum” Debacle

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UPDATE (4/15/11): I received an email from a partner at “Silver Bullet LLC” indicating that “we certainly had nothing to do with and want nothing to do with Shawn Wilmoth nor the activities that took place in Virginia.” In fact, Wilmoth apparently worked for a group called “Signature Masters,” not “Silver Bullet LLC” as in the press release from the Coalition for Arlington Good Government.

News from the Coalition for Arlington Good Government on yet another criminal indictment coming out of last year’s Arlington “change of government resolution” debacle. As ArlNow explains, this indictment comes “[l]ess than two months after two of his employees pleaded guilty to charges stemming from last year’s change-of-government petition drive in Arlington.” I had been concerned that only the low-level, “worker bees” were getting in trouble for this corrupt effort, and that the higher-ups were getting away with it, but apparently that’s not the case. Let’s hope this ongoing investigation gets to the bottom of what was nothing less than “a troubling criminal conspiracy to commit election fraud.” Truly disturbing.

Latest Indictment Shows Voter Fraud Conspiracy

Arlington, VA – April 11, 2011: The recent criminal indictments of Sean Wilmoth by a special grand jury on two felony counts (CR11000315-00 and CR11000316-00) resulted from the Arlington Police’s investigation of Wilmoth’s conduct during last year’s change of government referendum effort, led by the Committee for a Better Arlington. His indictments further expose a troubling criminal conspiracy to commit election fraud.

Wilmoth’s firm, Silver Bullet LLC, was hired by the referendum proponents to bolster the committee’s signature collection efforts. These latest indictments of Wilmoth, coupled with the two previous related election fraud convictions of Cheryl Simmons and William Cockerham, paint a clearer picture of an orchestrated effort to defraud Arlington voters and manipulate Virginia’s referendum process.

Simmons, who pled guilty to criminal voter fraud, confirmed in court that Wilmoth paid her to collect voter signatures and that many of the signatures she claimed to witness were simply handed to her by Wilmoth at an Arlington coffee shop where they were meeting a notary. Similarly, Cockerham has also pled guilty to criminal voter fraud and confirmed in court that Wilmoth paid him, and that many of the signature pages he attested to were simply handed to him by Wilmoth when they were meeting a notary at an Arlington bank.

Copies of the petitions made public in 2010 show that Dena Kozanas, the campaign manager for the Committee for a Better Arlington, notarized all of the petition pages signed by Cockerham, and 100 of the 127 petition pages signed by Simmons.

Wilmoth’s indictment validates many of the concerns that the Coalition for Arlington Good Government (CAGG) raised during the referendum effort. Last year, CAGG detailed significant irregularities in the petition gathering process on its Web site, www.arlingtoncoalition.org. Two individuals have now admitted in court that some of these irregularities were the result of criminal acts – and that those criminal acts were encouraged and enabled by Wilmoth and occurred as they were meeting an unnamed notary.

CAGG co-chair Alan Howze said, “We appreciate the diligence with which the police have pursued this investigation. As the true extent of the fraud, and the organized effort that went into the fraud, continues to be revealed, we believe that it will provide additional insights into how the referendum process in Arlington, and across Virginia, can be strengthened to better ensure honest, lawful dialogue among Arlingtonians on issues facing our community.”

  • effort. Also, as Miles points out, “for all the GOP bitching & moaning about non-existent ‘fraud’ to pass laws restricting voting, this (as well as other examples like the forged pro-coal letters) shows there’s a lot more danger to democracy in the GOP shoveling money to firms who do dirty work like this.”

    In fact, there is essentially ZERO danger of the type of “voter fraud” the GOP likes to scream about. As usual, they’re distracting everyone from the gigantic gorilla in the room, which is corporate America’s relentless efforts – often successful – to buy our politicians and, indeed, our Democracy.  Of course, it’s much more fun for Teapublicans to bash poor people and minorities (e.g., ACORN), but that doesn’t change the fact that 99.99999999% (add a few 9’s if you’d like) of the problem lies elsewhere, much closer to “home” for them!