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FOCUS ON ELECTION CRIME
New Initiative Announced

04/14/06

FBI exec James 'Chip' Burrus and Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher, in front of a map showing recent examples of successfully prosecuted campaign finance cases.
FBI exec James "Chip" Burrus and Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher, in front of a map showing recent examples of successfully prosecuted campaign finance cases.

Our top Criminal Investigative exec James "Chip" Burrus joined Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher in Washington on Thursday in announcing the launch of a new initiative targeting campaign finance and ballot fraud. We spoke with Burrus about the importance of the new effort and what it entails.

Q: Why the emphasis on these crimes now?

Burrus: Two main reasons. First, rooting out corruption in our systems of government is the FBI's top criminal investigative priority. Those systems start with the right to vote. As the November elections draw closer, we want the public to know that violations of election law will not be tolerated. Second, we're seeing a spike in these kinds of crime. During the 2004 presidential election year alone, we opened more cases than the previous four years combined. We're seeing all types of schemes—double voting, voter intimidation, ballot box stuffing, voting in someone else's name, using false corporate invoices to conceal the actual source of a campaign contribution. We've had great success investigating these crimes in the past, but the majority of those investigations were reactive in nature. Now, we're going to be more proactive.

Q: How so?

Burrus: By getting ready now before the election season begins. Today, we have at least one agent—an Election Crime Coordinator—in each of our 56 field offices who has had specialized training in handling complaints and investigating election crimes. Each of our offices is fully prepared to identify, initiate, and successfully investigate a wide variety of election crime violations. Also, our intelligence analysts are actively working to map out crime patterns and trends.

Q. Why should Americans be concerned about these crimes?

Burrus: Americans have a right to expect fair, open, and honest elections—it's a cornerstone of our democracy. A confident public is more likely to vote, trust the outcome of the election, and know that their vote made a difference. The FBI is ready, willing, and able to investigate these crimes. But we need the public's help. Call your local FBI office if you know about an election crime. If you don't want to give your name, leave an anonymous tip.

Links: Public Corruption page | More stories