The former Florida state senator accused of masterminding and funding a sham candidate to manipulate voters last November is now facing charges of felony campaign finance crimes.
Frank Artiles was booked into Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center on Thursday, a day after his Palmetto Bay home was raided, the Miami Herald reported Thursday.
Artiles is facing several charges, including felony charges for making illegal contributions, conspiracy to make or receive two or more campaign contributions over or in excess of limits, and false swearing in connection to the election, according to a copy of the arrest warrant.
“Prosecutors say Artiles offered Alexis (Alex) Pedro Rodriguez $50,000 to run in the race to ‘siphon votes from the incumbent,’ Democrat Jose Javier Rodriguez. Half was to be paid during the election and the rest after the election, Alex Rodriguez told prosecutors.”
Artiles actually only paid $44,708.03.
“The race pitted former TV personality Ileana Garcia, a Republican, against incumbent Jose Javier Rodriguez, a Democrat. Alex Rodriguez ran as an independent, did zero campaigning and took no calls from the media before the Nov. 3 election. But his candidacy was bolstered by deceptive political mail advertisements paid for by a dark money group whose address is a UPS store in Atlanta,” the newspaper explained. “Jose Javier Rodriguez lost by just 32 votes after a three-day recount, and Alex Rodriguez’s presence on the ballot was widely seen as a political ploy to confuse voters because of their shared last names and the dark money-sponsored political mailers.”
The newspaper noted Artiles resigned from the state Senate “in disgrace” in 2017 amid multiple scandals.
“The first was an alcohol-fueled rant in which he called two Black lawmakers a racist slur in a Tallahassee bar. The second involved the hiring of a former Hooters “calendar girl” and a Playboy model with no political experience as “consultants” using funds from his political committee,” the newspaper noted.