Texas School Board Election Allegedly Bought With Beer and Cigarettes
A dirt-poor Texas town has been rocked by a federal investigation into charges that votes for a school board election were bought with a few dollars worth of beer and cigarettes, accusations that surfaced just days before the school board president reportedly hanged himself.
The arrest of three people and the suicide came as the FBI pressed its investigation into alleged vote buying in Donna, Texas, a town so poor that some homes do not have electricity or running water.
The latest indictment came Tuesday after Diana Balderas Castaneda, 48, allegedly admitted to FBI agents that she bribed approximately 10 people to vote for Democratic school-board candidates on Election Day 2012.
Bribery also allegedly took place months earlier in the school board’s primary election. In an interview with FBI agents in March 2013, Castaneda said she was paid $125 by a school-board candidate to provide food and cash to primary voters – sometimes up to $20 for each vote, according to charging documents filed in the case.