Is it me, or does St. Louis area government suddenly seem a lot
like Chicago's notoriously corrupt politics?
Last month came the resignations of Missouri state senator Jeff Smith and state representative Steve Brown
. Today another Missouri state representative Talbidin "T.D." El-Amin
is expected to plead guilty
to federal corruption charges, and over in Cahokia, Illinois, it seems half the municipal government is under indictment.
Kyle Johnson; Trevon Tompkin; Kevin Wiggins; William Brown
Yesterday, two Cahokia trustees -- Kyle Johnson
, 44, and Trevon L. Tompkin
, 25 -- and two city employees -- Kevin Wiggins
, 44, and William L. Brown
, 27 -- pleaded not guilty to 191 charges
of perjury, illegally observing voting and related felonies.
According to reports, the men worked in tandem to rig the April 7 election and swing the balance of power in the city away from Mayor Frank Bergman
It wasn't long after the election that accusations of election fraud began to mount. Particularly curious was the number of absentee ballots cast in the election -- with one voting precinct reporting a 1,300 percent increase in absentee ballots over previous elections.
The Belleville News-Democrat reports that each count is a Class 3 felony
, punishable by two to five years in
prison or 24 months of probation.
The elected officials -- Tompkins and Johnson -- can hold their
trustee positions until they are convicted, under Illinois law.