CHARLESTON, W.Va. — U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said Monday he believes the epidemic of political corruption in Mingo County has probably been stopped as a result of recent efforts by his office and others.
Goodwin was in a federal courtroom Monday morning when former Mingo County Magistrate Dallas Toler pleaded guilty to federal vote fraud. Toler is the fourth now former Mingo County elected official to plead guilty to various charges in recent months.
“Corruption is absolutely the biggest threat to democracy and in Mingo County corruption was an epidemic and I think through these prosecutions we’ve shown that,” Goodwin said Monday on MetroNews Talkline following Toler’s guilty plea.
Toler was appointed magistrate in Jan. 2012 and he wanted to keep his job according to Goodwin so he registered a man to vote that he knew was a convicted felon. The man voted in the May 2012 Primary Election.
Goodwin said Toler, and the other three men convicted recently, former Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury, former county commissioner Dave Baisden and former prosecutor Michael Sparks, were all members of ‘Team Mingo’, which was the slate of Democratic candidates seeking election in 2012.
Goodwin was asked Monday if ‘Team Mingo’ was corrupt. He said the convictions of Toler and others may answer that question.
“He was engaged in an overall effort to keep his job and the other positions of power for he and his cronies,” according to Goodwin.
Toler will be sentenced March 10, 2014. He faces up to five years in federal prison.
Goodwin said the epidemic of corruption in Mingo County has taken a big hit but his office won’t stop now.
“We probably do have more work to do,” Goodwin said.
(Photo courtesy WSAZ-TV)