BRADENTON – The State Attorney's Office formally filed charges against former Sarasota Republican Party chairman and Take Back Our Government frontman Bob Waechter last week. Waechter is charged with a third-degree felony for fraudulent use of personal identification and could face up to five years in prison under state sentencing guidelines.
The formal charges in the 12th Judicial Circuit came more than a month after Waechter was initially arrested for allegedly stealing a political rival's identity and making illegal campaign donations in their name. The Sarasota Sheriff's office released video images (pictured right) of Waechter that they say show him buying a prepaid debit card to make the donations in the name of Lourdes Ramirez, a Sarasota Republican considered a likely candidate for the County Commission.
Waechter, who has been deeply involved in party politics, is reported to have made the donations to several Democrats including President Obama and Keith Fitzgerald in order to embarrass Ramirez politically at some later point. Waechter also dipped his hand into Manatee politics in 2012, when he fronted an attack group to influence newly-elected county commissioner Betsy Benac's race.
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