COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – Charges have been filed against a former Ohio House of Representatives page for allegedly forging a political letter on behalf of a local state representative.
According to the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office, Carlos Arrigo, 20, is facing one count of forgery and one count of attempted identity fraud.
These charges stem from a political letter sent to Barb Cole in February, 2014. Cole ran against incumbent State Representative Cliff Rosenberger, (R) District 91, and lost in the Republican Primary last May.
The letter appeared to be signed by State Representative Jim Butler, (R) District 41. Rep. Butler represents Oakwood, Centerville, Kettering, and parts of Riverside and Dayton.
The letter read like an endorsement with sentences like, “I am here to offer my full support of your future run and the best of luck in the upcoming Primary.”
Butler knew nothing about the letter and said he did not send it.
Both Rep. Butler and Rep. Rosenberger were vying for the Speaker of the House position at the time it was sent. A letter like this would not have looked the best for Rep. Butler or Cole in the eyes of the Republican Party. The Speaker position has a lot of influence. He or she can help decide what bills get brought up and who leads committees.
Rosenberger has since been named Speaker.
Cole told 2 NEWS Investigates last July, “For me the question is to what lengths are we willing to go to win elections and what laws can be broken in elections without fear of prosecution. Can we expect integrity and honesty from our officials? Obviously the letter was intended to embarrass Representative Butler and me.”
Arrigo’s arraignment is set for April 1st.
Prosecuting attorney Ron O’Brien tells 2 NEWS he believes everyone involved has been charged. He believes Arrigo forged the letter to try and get even with a co-worker. He said Arrigo was polygraphed.
Representative Butler tells 2 NEWS, “I am hopeful those guilty of this blatantly illegal attempt to influence the outcome of an important election are appropriately punished. I look forward to a swift and fair process.”