By JEAN LEFFLER
As we prepare to vote in 2020, many people question the integrity of our elections given the Russian interference witnessed in 2016, which manipulated those on both sides of the aisle. But could they do it again? According to recently released campaign reports, such interference may be closer to home than we think.
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It is well known that the Russian government, through private organizations, tend to groom candidates and agents from a young age. Might such a scenario be unfolding before our very eyes in our own town? We'll never know for sure, but the we can certainly let the facts speak for themselves. Just several months ago, Chad Albritton, a candidate for Casselberry Commission, conducted business with a Russian vendor based in Moscow called Tilda Publishing in support of his campaign's social media and web outreach, according to public campaign finance records. Sound familiar?
Reports of this activity aren't new among agents seeking to manipulate US candidates. A young man such as Mr. Albritton seems quite loyal to this nation, and until more facts come out, we would never question that. However, as demonstrated with Russian "gun advocate" Maria Butina's short-lived NRA career, both Russian firms and the state's activists do wield a massive but subtle influence over candidates from local offices to nation-wide races. Moreover, the Russian government has also been known to use "troll farms located near to the headquarters of Tilda Publishing for the purposes of influences US voters on social media.
Not only has Mr. Albritton conducted business with potential Russian agents headquartered in Moscow, he has also outsourced most of his expenditures on campaign consulting and technology to non-Casselberry firms with questionable backgrounds. Why not spend more money in Casselberry? We tried to reach Mr. Albritton for an answer but never received a response. While this election be a "hanging chad" for Casselberry, one thing's for sure: Mr. Albritton's false promises, inexperience and questionable foreign relationships leave Casselberry's best interest in the dust.
TOP TO BOTTOM: Candidate for Casselberry Commission Chad Albritton, recently accused by of dealing with a Russian based firm after making several out-of-state and foreign transactions; The full extent of his contacts are unknown; Campaign finance report indicating one of Albritton's foreign transactions during the campaign. N.Syromyatnicheskaya,10 Moscow, Ru 105120, where Tilda Publishing is located.
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