PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- An Allegheny County man was charged with forging signatures to get a Pittsburgh-area congressional candidate on the ballot for the 2022 primary, the Pennsylvania attorney general's office announced on Wednesday.
Kirk Rice is accused of forging signatures on nomination petitions for a 12th Congressional District candidate who the attorney general's office didn't identify. That candidate's bid for office was unsuccessful, the attorney general's office said.
Rice was hired by the candidate to help get the necessary signatures to get the candidate on the ballot for the 2022 Democratic primary race, investigators said. But of the more than 400 signatures Rice collected, the attorney general's office said many appeared to be forged or falsified.
An investigation by the attorney general's office found Rice allegedly forged names, addresses and signatures of dozens of people on the nomination petitions. Many people told investigators they didn't sign the petitions, and several lived out of state. In some cases, investigators said names were duplicated or rearranged on separate pages.
The 12th Congressional District includes the city of Pittsburgh, much of Allegheny County and portions of Westmoreland County. It was eventually won by Summer Lee.
"At the foundation of our democracy are free and fair elections, and this defendant is charged with undermining that essential process," Attorney General Michelle Henry said in a news release. "Instead of working to obtain legal signatures, the defendant allegedly took the easy way out and falsified much of the information that secured a ballot spot for the candidate he represented. This case is a reminder that interfering with Pennsylvania's election process is a very serious matter and will always be treated that way by this office."
Rice was charged with 33 counts of identity theft, 33 counts of forgery, one count of theft by deception, two counts of unsworn falsification, two counts of perjury, two counts of nomination petition and two counts of false signatures.
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