Philly political consultant charged with forging thousands of signatures in 2019 primary

Workers with the Philadelphia City Commissioners office sort election materials

Workers with the Philadelphia City Commissioners office sort election materials for the 2020 General Election in the United States at city’s mail-in ballot sorting and counting center, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photos/Matt Slocum)

A Philadelphia political consultant is facing forgery charges after allegedly falsifying thousands of signatures on nominating petitions during the 2019 Democratic primary.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro says Rasheen Crews forged signatures to make sure his clients made it on the ballot in the 2019 Philadelphia primary.

Candidates needed signatures from at least 1,000 registered voters to get on the ballot. Shapiro says Crews gathered people in a hotel room to write the names.

“This arrest is an important reminder that interfering with the integrity of our elections is a serious crime,” Shapiro said in a written statement. “By soliciting and organizing the wide scale forgery of signatures, the defendant undermined the democratic process and Philadelphians’ right to a free and fair election.”

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According to WHYY’s Billy Penn, some candidates were forced to drop out after seeking Crews’ help — including the top Democratic candidate for the Court of Common Pleas.

When the allegations first came up in 2019, Crews’ spokesperson told Billy Penn, “In an attempt to help more people than he could manage, Mr. Crews did not use his normal vetting process for hiring workers to collect signatures.”

The spokesperson said the majority of candidates who hired Crews — including Mayor Jim Kenney and some City Council candidates — were “satisfied with his work.”

Among the charges Crews faces is criminal solicitation to commit forgery.

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