12 Associates Also Face Conspiracy, Fraud and Tax Charges
By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 27, 2008; 12:51 PM
The governor of Puerto Rico and a dozen associates were indicted today on conspiracy, fraud and tax charges related to the financing of political campaigns dating to 1999.
Democrat Anibal Acevedo Vila, 48, and his top advisers accepted thousands of dollars in illegal campaign donations from Philadelphia area businessmen and their employees to wipe away substantial debts stemming from campaign expenses prior to 2002, which were never reported to federal election officials, Justice Department officials said.
Acevedo Vila, who served as Puerto Rico's resident commissioner in the U.S. House of Representatives between 2001 and 2005, also took money in connection with his official role but did not declare the income for tax purposes, according to the indictment unveiled this morning.
The governor, a Democratic superdelegate, is campaigning for reelection this year. Before his legal troubles emerged, he had thrown his support behind Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for the presidential nomination.
"Electoral fraud undermines the essence of our representative form of government," Puerto Rico U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez-Velez said in a prepared statement.
The charges stem from a long-running FBI probe into public corruption in Philadelphia, according to law enforcement sources who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.