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Charleston, W.Va. – A 27-month investigation by the Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant’s Office continues to yield results. The latest charges filed by the US Attorney’s Office accuse Lincoln County Commissioner Thomas Ramey with lying to federal investigators in connection with an ongoing joint state-federal investigation into the absentee voting process in Lincoln County during the 2010 primary.
“The charge filed today shows that I and the Secretary of State’s Office do not tolerate election law violations,” Secretary Tennant said. “We did not give up on this investigation and will target any attempt in any election to chip away at our democracy.”
Ramey is the third Lincoln County official to be charged in connection to this case. Former Lincoln County Clerk Donald Whitten and former Lincoln County Sheriff Jerry Bowman have pleaded guilty to federal charges and face sentencing at a later date.
“I am proud of the work of the staff of the Secretary of State’s Office. Months went by and we kept investigating. One of our investigators was threatened at gunpoint while he was trying to question someone about this case.”
In February, James Matheny of Midkiff was arrested for threatening at gunpoint investigators from the Secretary of State’s Office and FBI who were interviewing witnesses in connection to the absentee voting case. In May, Matheny was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon on a federal officer and a person assisting a federal officer. Matheny is in jail awaiting sentencing.
“Allegations of election law violations are serious and will be investigated,” Tennant said. “I am proud of the partnership between the Secretary of State investigators and the federal investigators.”