A man who would be designated as an Illinois delegate for Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich pleaded guilty to voter fraud charges back in 1991, TPM has learned.
Back in 1991, Charles Augustyniak pleaded guilty to a voter registration violation after he tried to register his mother, father and brother (who lived in Du Page County, Illinois) as Cook County voters. As punishment he had to speak at training sessions for deputy registrars "explaining how he committed his crime and discussing correct procedures for voter registration," according to a newspaper report from the time.
Augustyniak is listed as a delegate on a petition on the Illinois for Newt website. In an interview with TPM he said he hadn't thought about the incident in a number of years.
"There was no fraud perpetrated, it's technically a misdemeanor election code violation which I admitted to," Augustyniak said in an interview. "My folks were in the process of retiring and were living with me for awhile, that's what that was all about."
Augustyniak explains that his parents moved in with him for a few months as they were selling their home in Du Page County but before they moved to Alabama in early 1991.
"They wanted to claim that they perpetrated some fraud, and I didn't think I wanted to put my mid-60 year old parents through that," Augustyniak said.
"It's something I haven't thought a whole lot about in over 20 years, if people want to look at my public record, I don't even think i've had a traffic ticket, but I don't really think it's any kind of an issue," Augustyniak continued.
Augustyniak said that he continued to speak to deputy registrars about his violation even after he had completed his required hours of community service.
The Gingrich campaign in Illinois didn't respond to a request for comment. Gingrich has supported conservative anti-voter fraud measures in the past, having been critical of the Justice Department for blocking South Carolina's voter ID law while calling for voter ID laws in all 50 states.