by Natalia Mittelstadt
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who was elected governor last week, has announced charges of forgery for Democratic nomination petitions against a Philadelphia political consultant who reportedly worked on his 2016 campaign.
On Wednesday, Shapiro announced the arrest of Rasheen Crews for allegedly forging signatures on nomination petitions for Democrat clients in 2019 Philadelphia primary races. The nomination petitions were to get Crews’ clients on the ballot in primary races.
Crews was hired by multiple candidates to assist in obtaining the required amount of signatures for their nomination petitions to run in Democratic primary races.
However, Crews allegedly hired individuals to assist with the signatures for the petitions, including “asking them to write names, addresses, and forged signatures on multiple petitions” in a hotel room, according to the attorney general’s press release. He then allegedly had the petitions notarized and filed with the Pennsylvania Department of State on his clients’ behalf.
More than 1,000 signatures were duplicates, the attorney general’s office said.
“Many names and addresses were found repeated on various petition pages, some pages appeared to be photocopied entirely, and some of the listed individuals claimed to have never signed the petitions in question,” according to the office.
The investigation into Crews began in September 2019, after the primary elections in May, according to the arrest affidavit.
Because of the questions about the petition signatures, some candidates entirely withdrew from the election.
The charges against Crews are Criminal Solicitation to Commit Forgery and Theft By Failure to Make Required Disposition.
“In advance of the 2023 municipal elections, this arrest is an important reminder that interfering with the integrity of our elections is a serious crime,” Shapiro said in a statement.
“By soliciting and organizing the wide scale forgery of signatures, the defendant undermined the democratic process and Philadelphians’ right to a free and fair election. My office is dedicated to upholding the integrity of the election process across the Commonwealth, to ensure everyone can participate in Pennsylvania’s future.”
Crews has been a consultant for several state and local candidates, including Shapiro during his 2016 attorney general campaign, The Washington Free Beacon reported, per the Pennsylvania campaign finance database. Shapiro’s campaign paid Crews $2,000 in 2016, according to the outlet.
The attorney general’s office didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
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Natalia Mittelstadt graduated from Regent University with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Communication Studies and Government.
Photo “Josh Shapiro” by Governor Tom Wolf. CC BY 2.0. Background Photo “Courtroom” by Karen Neoh. CC BY 2.0.