Republican Supervisor Jeff Sili has uncovered a truly stunning example of just how brazen corruption can be, especially at the local level when the bad guys don’t think anyone is watching. [read_more]It’s an old story that gets repeated all too often: people gathering petition signatures in support of one public policy or another, and even in support of getting ballot access for their preferred candidates, will often go to extreme lengths to get signatures and will even go as far as forging signatures.
Jeff Sili appears to have discovered one of the more baldfaced examples we have ever seen. In a letter to the Free Lance Star, Sili details how proponents of a new sand and gravel mine being developed on the Rappahannock River in Caroline have pulled names of dead people from phone books, bribed people for signatures with coolers full of free pork, and even forged the signatures of Caroline residents who have never even heard of the petition.
The forged names now look to be taken from an old phone book which accounts for why husbands and wives are not forged together. The names are forged according to how they are listed in the phone book, A-Z which accounts for some of the deceased.
Sili, one of two conservatives (and the only Republican) on the Caroline County Board of Supervisors, has so far been unsuccessful in his opposition of the new development. But, at least his act of citizen journalism has paid a few dividends: now, the Caroline County sheriff is investigating the corruption (which is likely unlawful), and is soliciting feedback from residents whose signatures were forged. See the petition posted to the county website by the sheriff here.
Regardless of where one stands on different types of new development, we should all agree that submitting faked petitions to a government body, and petition signatures gained by fraud, is wrong. Keep up the good work, Jeff!
[Post has been updated to reflect that Sili is the lone Republican on the Board of Supervisors in Caroline.]