Former Republican Senator Frank Artiles was in possession of a sham no-party-affiliated candidate’s campaign records in a 2020 state race, according to reporting by the Miami Herald.
The South Florida paper obtained a 38-page search warrant, which showed Artiles was in possession of a manila folder that contained campaign documents related to Celso Alfonso. Alfonso ran as a third-party candidate in Senate District 39, which Republican Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez won.
Alfonso has not been charged. Artiles has not been charged in connection to that candidate’s recruiting. But he is facing felony charges in connection to a second NPA candidate who ran in Senate District 37.
Sen. Rodriguez told a Miami Herald reporter Thursday the news is “very shocking.”
“I don’t know the candidate. I don’t really talk to Frank, so I don’t know anything about this,” she said. “This is all very interesting how the developments are shaping along.”
The Senator said state prosecutors had not reached out to her.
Artiles has been charged with felonies over illicit campaign donations and lying on campaign paperwork in connection to an alleged spoiler candidate in another south Florida Senate race. Investigators say Artiles offered to pay Alex Rodriguez nearly $50,000 to enter the District 37 race. Rodriguez shared a last name with the incumbent Democratic candidate Jose Javier Rodriguez.
Rodriguez, the NPA candidate, is already facing charges, and prosecutors tacked on another charge Thursday for lying on campaign paperwork.
The Herald lays out the case using documents from prosecutors tying the third party candidates together, including the fact that Rodriguez and Alfonso qualified for the 2020 election on the same day, “with checks hand-delivered in Tallahassee” on the same day Artiles flew to Tallahassee.
Senate District 9 in Central Florida also had a seemingly spoiler candidate in a contentious race, who did not campaign. Though there are links, that race is not currently under investigation, in affiliation with Artiles or otherwise.