FL GOP Ex-Senator Arrested In Shill Candidate Scheme

The Miami Herald reports:

Frank Artiles, the Republican political operative suspected of secretly arranging a sham candidate to run in a key 2020 state senate race, surrendered to a Miami-Dade County jail on Thursday to face felony campaign finance charges.

Artiles, himself a former state senator, was seen arriving at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center, along with his lawyer.

His surrender came one day after the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office Public Corruption Task Force executed a search warrant at his Palmetto Bay house. Authorities are expected to announce details of the charges at a press conference Thursday afternoon.

Miami’s ABC News affiliate reports:

Frank Artiles was booked into Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center on Thursday, a day after his Palmetto Bay home was raided. Shill candidate Alex Rodriguez was also booked Thursday morning.

According to a warrant obtained by Local 10 News, investigators say Artiles offered to pay Rodriguez $50,000 — half during the election and half afterward — for Rodriguez to enter November’s District 37 state senate race, where he shared a last name with the incumbent Democrat candidate Jose Javier Rodriguez.

In total, investigators found that $44,708.03 was paid by Artiles to Rodriguez “for changing his party affiliation, qualifying as an independent candidate for Senate Seat 37, and attempting to [siphon] votes from the incumbent candidate.”