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Scott Eckersley, who ran on the Democratic ticket last November for Missouri’s 7th Congressional seat and lost to Billy Long, says his complaint on campaign fraud is now being formally investigated by the U.S. Justice Department. KSMU’s Jennifer Moore has this report.
Eckersley said the FBI office in Springfield contacted him this week and confirmed that the Department of Justice has opened an investigation into his complaint of election fraud.
Eckersley filed a complaint after a fake email was sent to local media in his name just days before the election, falsely claiming that he had dropped out of the race.
“What the FBI informed me is that it would take a simple warrant to figure out who sent the email. So, you know, I think there are some people who are going to have to answer for what appears to be election fraud,” Eckersley said.
Eckersley says he believes the email was linked to now-Congressman Billy Long. Eckersley says the main thing he’s basing that theory on is that his own campaign’s IT staffer was able to track the email to a man in Addison, Illinois, who had gone to school with Long’s daughter in Springfield.
“I think also the denials on the part of Mr. Long are pretty incredulous as well, based on the information that came from a facebook page and Twitter accounts where there seemed to be an obvious connection between the individual that it seems likely was behind this, [and] Mr. Long and his campaign, and the folks running his campaign,” he said.
Eckersley has still not conceded victory to Long. I asked Eckersley what his motive is in pursuing this claim of election fraud. He said it is not a case of “sour grapes.”
“I’m not pursuing this for any reason other than the fact that, number one, it’s wrong, and it was a crime that was perpetrated against me and our election staff—our campaign staff, I should say. It would not change the outcome of the election, except that if there were an indictment, if certain things were proven, as they might be, I think it could show cause for a special election to be held,” Eckersley said.
The US Attorney’s offices in both Springfield and Kansas City would not comment on the matter. The spokesperson for the Kansas City office said the US Attorney’s office does not comment on any internal investigations unless charges are actually filed.
Also, the supervisor of the local FBI office, Josh Nixon, told KSMU that, as per the Department of Justice’s policy, he could neither confirm nor deny that there was even an investigation open.
On Tuesday, Congressman Billy Long issued the following written statement on the matter to KSMU:
“I am not aware of an investigation from the Department of Justice. Anyone can file a FEC claim and I have complied with all requests by the FEC for a response. Given the nature of this claim we expect a positive outcome in the coming months,” Long's statement read.
Under the Federal Election Commission, or FEC’s rules, (US Code Title 2, Chapter 14, Section 441(h)), it is illegal to fraudulently misrepresent a candidate for Congress. Anyone found guilty of doing so could face steep fines or jail time.
For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Moore.