Another domino falls across the nation highlighting
election fraud and the rot within the DNC…
Former Missouri Elected Official and His Chief of Staff Plead Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud
Department of Justice
January 26, 2018
The former County Executive for Jackson County, Missouri and his former chief of staff pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to defraud political campaign funds, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
Michael Sanders, 50, of Independence, Missouri, and Calvin Williford, 60, of St. Joseph, Missouri, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud before U.S. District Judge Roseann A. Ketchmark of the Western District of Missouri.
According to admissions made in connection with their pleas, Sanders was the elected County Executive for Jackson County from January 2007 until December 2015. Prior to serving as County Executive, Sanders was the elected Prosecuting Attorney for Jackson County. Williford was a senior staff member for Sanders, and then later chief of staff, in the Office of the County Executive from 2007 to December 2015. Prior to then, Williford served as Sanders’s Director of Public Affairs at the Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Sanders and Williford defrauded political committees with which Sanders was affiliated by converting campaign contributions for their personal use. Sanders and Williford misappropriated the money by directing the political committees to issue checks to certain individuals who performed little or no campaign-related work. Instead, the individuals cashed the checks and then returned a portion of the money to Sanders or Williford, who used the cash at times to pay for personal expenses.
With a guilty plea, former Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders’ downfall is complete
Kansas City Star
January 26, 2018
Mike Sanders stood before a federal judge in downtown Kansas City Friday afternoon, his back straight, his voice firm — and his reputation in shattered pieces on the ground.
The former Jackson County executive and former Jackson County prosecutor admitted his role in a scheme to divert campaign contributions for his personal use. Sanders pleaded guilty to a single felony count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The conspiracy, the government said, went on for several years. According to papers filed with the court, Sanders and former Chief of Staff Calvin Williford would direct payments from political campaign committees to “strawmen” who claimed campaign work.
The strawmen didn’t actually perform political tasks. Instead, they cashed the committee checks and bounced most of the money back to Sanders and Williford, who used the cash for personal expenses.
Sentencing will come later this year. The one-time chairman of the Missouri Democratic Party will likely spend at least some time in prison.
Sanders’ downfall is a sad but common tale. It reflects the arrogance of a public official who apparently came to believe his personal decisions were above public scrutiny.
Sanders, 50, admitted to diverting between $15,000 to $40,000 in campaign funds for personal use.
Supporters are quick to point out that the diverted money did not involve taxpayer dollars. While true, it’s largely irrelevant. Using campaign funds for personal expenses is illegal and can only add to the skepticism of a public already dubious about the motives of politicians.
Campaign funds must always be used for campaign expenses, period. Mike Sanders forgot that fact, damaging Jackson Countians’ faith in their government.
Williford also pleaded guilty Friday to his role in the scheme and will also be sentenced later this year. He apologized for his actions.
Friday’s guilty pleas are a reminder of the importance of campaign finance disclosure. The reason campaign donations and spending must be made public is to allow voters and the press to examine the influence of money on politics.
The pleas also suggest Jackson County’s politics need a thorough scrubbing. The ongoing allegations of misfeasance at the courthouse, coupled with the Sanders plea, should prompt every voter in Jackson County to demand reform.
Mike Sanders’ political career is over, and his life is in shambles. Let that serve, yet again, as a cautionary tale for every politician who thinks his or her needs are more important than the public’s. They aren’t.
Kudos to the KCS. They say quite well what every American needs to consider at every election. How are campaign dollars used and will the one elected actually do what “we the people” voted them in office to do. As citizens over the last twenty years and especially the last eight, we have been victims. Willingly or not, our constitutionally guaranteed rights, our education system, our judicial system, and our governmental agencies have become corrupted by use for political or personal gain.
We can no longer stand idly by while this happens. We have ample of the degradation without a long list needed to remind us. But if we hope to return to a sovereign nation and to again take up the values and independent spirit born in our nation, we cannot allow even the most basic grass root actions to become battle grounds against us.
Local elections matter. Mayors, councilmen, managers, schoolboards, newspapers — all impact our lives on a local level. If we don’t fix our sights on them and make sure they all work for our constitution and our country not against it, then we are at fault.
State elections matter. Governors, District Attorneys, and all the different agencies impact us with taxes, attitudes, laws, and more that should reflect the rights of the majority and inclusive of rights of the minority. If we want to know that our vote counts, our rights are being considered, our children’s futures are not being eroded–then we are at fault if we do not take part.
Federal elections matter. From national parties to national positions, if we want to be governed in a republic with our voices and our votes counting then we have to get involved. We have to sponsor candidates that we believe have our interests and concerns at their base. We also have to be willing to monitor their progress and pay attention to their activities. We have to put them on notice they are being watched and their actions have consequences.
Vote.org and other sites are great ways to keep up with voting records. Maybe do a local blog highlighting things like that so others can also keep aware. (Especially if you have a less than forthcoming local news outlet.) Or local news where what our representatives and senators are doing on important issues. We cannot give up. We cannot let up. We cannot stop caring just because we went to the polls. We tried that and look where we are now.
Like him, hate him….it doesn’t matter — President Trump has proven that the American spirit of sacredness of oaths, belief in keeping promises, pride in country rising, and the independence of spirit in the US can be achieved. He has proven that even with more than half the country against him for whatever reason, he can achieve his goals for the people in our country. He has proven that there was a lot of rot, disinterest, fear of retribution, and giving up going on in the US.
It isn’t about Trump, it never was. It is about what the people of our country want, need, and expect from those who govern, who sit in judgement, who monitor, and who enforce laws that were meant to keep our country safe, secure, and prosperous.
Frankly, from all of the actions, collusion, disruption, and criminality being displayed within the Democrat Party — this is not a party I want my name attached to. I plan to keep my nose to the grindstone even with the Republican Party because they are not any better in some respects.
I am independent of spirit, independent of vote, and determined that I make a difference if only through voicing my opinion on social media. (so long as I do it with common sense, civic purpose, and a mature attitude)
I hope everyone across the nation takes up the call and the challenge. The Kansas City Star is right. We have to do all we can, even at the local level if we want our future generations to enjoy a country with one of the best forms of government as yet devised.