By Anthony Hennen | The Center Square
(The Center Square) – Former Congressman Michael “Ozzie” Myers, convicted of bribery and conspiracy in the Abscam FBI sting operation of the 1970s, has pleaded guilty to a bevy of election fraud charges to benefit Democratic candidates in Philadelphia elections between 2014-2018, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Myers, 79, pleaded guilty “to conspiracy to deprive voters of civil rights, bribery, obstruction of justice, falsification of voting records, and conspiring to illegally vote in a federal election for orchestrating schemes to fraudulently stuff the ballot boxes,” a press release said.
Myers bribed two judges in the 39th Ward of South Philadelphia to illegally add votes for certain candidates, who then would falsely certify the results. He would solicit payment from clients through “consulting fees” and use this money to pay for tampering with election results.
“Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy. If even one vote has been illegally cast or if the integrity of just one election official is compromised, it diminishes faith in (the) process,” U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams said. “Votes are not things to be purchased and democracy is not for sale. If you are a political consultant, election official, or work with the polling places in any way, I urge you to do your job honestly and faithfully. That is what the public deserves and what the federal government will enforce.”
The FBI ran the investigation with the assistance of the Pennsylvania State Police. Myers was indicted in 2020.
His previous infamy came from the Abscam scandal, which involved a fake Arab sheikh looking to invest oil money in famous artworks, spiraling into fraudulent securities, gambling licenses, and bribery.
Myers was caught on videotape accepting a $50,000 bribe from undercover FBI agents, which led to his expulsion from the House of Representatives in 1980, the first such expulsion since 1861. He was sentenced to three years in prison.
Myers was one of six members of the House who were convicted, along with a senator, a New Jersey state senator, a number of Philadelphia city councilmen, and the mayor of Camden, New Jersey, among others.