‘American Hustle’: Party Insiders Tell The True Story Of How Philadelphia Elections Work By Chris Bedford and John Daniel Davidson for The Federalist
Judges who obtained their positions by fraud, according to an indictment, have denied the Trump campaign’s ballot-watchers access, providing crucial unsupervised time to Democrat vote counters.
PHILADELPHIA, Penn. — Most Americans might not know the name Ozzie Myers, although a part of his tale was told in the hit 2013 movie “American Hustle” about the FBI sting that sent four congressmen to prison in the 1970s.
If you’re from Philadelphia, though, you know his name, and knew it well before 2013. He’s important to the country now because he’s currently under indictment for bribing a state elections judge to stuff ballots for Democratic candidates. Among the candidates he was paid to get elected are three as-yet-unnamed judges sitting on the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court. That’s where President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign has to go when local election officials refuse to let campaign monitors oversee ballot integrity, as has been the case these past few days throughout Pennsylvania.
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In addition, Trump’s U.S. attorney, William McSwain, has hinted that in addition to the three unidentified judges, those Democrats tainted by election-fixing go all the way from local officials to the U.S. Congress.
Why should anyone care about that court? Because it’s playing a major role in the presidential election.
On Tuesday, Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Stella Tsai ruled that the city’s Board of Elections was complying with state laws governing partisan election monitors, contradicting claims from the Trump campaign that GOP monitors were being kept too far away from absentee ballot-counters to observe whether ballots were being properly counted.
Then on Thursday, a state appellate court sided with the Trump campaign, ordering that election observers be allowed to stand within six feet of ballot-counters to ensure meaningful monitoring of the process. The City of Philadelphia immediately appealed the ruling to the state’s top court, which has yet to decide whether it will take up the matter.
Meanwhile, Republicans filed a lawsuit Tuesday in state court accusing Democratic election leaders of violating state code by authorizing local election officials to give information about rejected mail-in ballots to Democratic operatives so they could contact those voters and offer them a new ballot. Not only would such actions violate state law, they would defy a ruling from Pennsylvania’s state Supreme Court last month, which stated “mail-in or absentee voters are not provided any opportunity to cure perceived defects (to their ballot) in a timely manner.”
The back-and-forth in the courts, and the accusations of corruption at multiple levels of government, underscores the outsized role local Democratic officials are playing in the presidential election, with President Trump narrowly trailing former Vice President Joe Biden in a few key states, including Pennsylvania. In Philadelphia, those local officials are often connected to a Democratic Party machine with a long history of corruption, organized crime, and election fraud.
Myers, for example, is accused of bribing former Judge of Elections Domenick J. Demuro, who pleaded guilty in May to accepting bribes to stuff ballot boxes for certain candidates during the 2014, 2015, and 2016 primaries. According to a July report in Philly Voice, “At his polling station, Demuro admitted he would ‘ring up’ extras votes on machines, add them to the totals and later falsely certify that the results receipts from voting machines were accurate, prosecutors said.”
A Life In The Machine
Ozzie’s story is an illustrative one, and an example of how things work in Philadelphia politics—a “machine,” one insider told The Federalist, that has a lot more in common with “a living organism” that doesn’t need instructions “to know how to breathe.”