Missouri state Sen. Jeff Smith of St. Louis is considering resigning his seat because of a federal investigation involving his 2004 Democratic primary race for U.S. Congress, according to state government sources.
In July of that year, Carnahan’s campaign filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging that Smith’s campaign was involved in anonymous distribution of “false and malicious information intended to deceive potential voters and evade proper federal disclosures.”
But in the FEC filings, investigators pointed to Milton H. “Skip” Ohlsen III, 37, of St. Louis County as the distributor of the fliers in question.
During the investigation, FEC documents show, Ohlsen said he had several contacts with the Smith campaign over the production and distribution of his flier.
Ohlsen told the FEC that he was paid about $13,000 in cash but did not tell investigators who paid him, and he provided no documentation. FEC records show no payments from Smith to Ohlsen during the 2004 campaign. Various Smith campaign workers told the federal officials that they knew of Ohlsen and had provided him some research, but that they weren’t coordinating his efforts.
During the FEC investigation, Smith filed an affidavit saying that neither he, “nor any other group or organization under my control” was involved in the anonymous flier distributed during the campaign.
Ohlsen had set up a committee, Voters for Truth, to handle the distribution of the fliers. The FEC investigation determined that the bank accounts connected to Voters for Truth were created on fraudulent Social Security numbers.
Smith had challenged (and lost) Russ Carnahan during the primaries for Carnie’s 3rd district seat.
So one supporter of astroturfing went after another astroturfer. Comical.