Washington Babylon — June 1, 2009, 9:06 am

Congressman Cantor and Cockfighting

The former sheriff of Page County, Virginia, Daniel Presgraves, has been indicted on 22 counts of public corruption, including accepting bribes to protect cockfighting. Based on the indictment, Presgraves appears to be one of those small town sheriffs who enjoy using their authority to turn the county into their own personal fiefdom. He allegedly sexually harassed and assaulted one woman by asking her to “suck a mint out of his mouth,” asking her to tell him the color of the bra she was wearing, and “approaching her with an erection and asking for oral sex.”

A businessman has also been charged in the case:

The Middleburg man first hauled into federal court the same day as former Page County Sheriff Daniel W. “Danny” Presgraves has pleaded guilty to making illegal political contributions in relation to cockfighting. Chester William Fannon III, 47 at the time of his October arrest, entered into a plea agreement in U.S. District Court in Charlottesville on Monday, according to online court records. The one-time president of the Virginia Gamefowl Breeders Association Inc. pleaded guilty to making nearly $9,000 in illegal conduit political contributions, the plea agreement says. That charge carries a maximum sentence of a year in prison and a $100,000 fine…

According to the indictment against him, Fannon had links to the Little Boxwood cockpit near Stanley in Page County. It says Fannon wrote checks to presidential and congressional candidates, and would then get reimbursement from the cockfighting association, in violation of federal law. Corporations are not permitted to donate to federal campaigns.

Both Presgraves and Fannon appear to be fans of House Minority Whip Eric Cantor. The former has made five contributions totaling about $3,500 to Cantor since 2002. The latter gave Cantor checks for $500 in 2006 and 2007. In April, after Cantor was interviewed on CBS, Fannon wrote this note on the congressman’s website:

Great interview! I am glad that you made it clear that you don’t want the President himself to fail but only his policys. [sic] Please keep supporting rural values, animal agriculture and the second amendment. The H.S.U.S. is a serious threat to the above mentioned organizations and we need your help.

The H.S.U.S. is the Humane Society of the United States, which has been leading an effort to ban cockfighting; and as a Humane Society blogger noted last October, Cantor was one of the very few House members who voted against the felony animal fighting bill.

And now former Sheriff Presgraves has added a very prominent GOP official to his expanding legal team, the former Attorney General of Virginia, Jerry Kilgore.

Share
Single Page

More from Ken Silverstein:

From the November 2013 issue

Dirty South

The foul legacy of Louisiana oil

Perspective October 23, 2013, 8:00 am

On Brining and Dining

How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy

Postcard October 16, 2013, 8:00 am

The Most Cajun Place on Earth

A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits 

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

May 2015

Black Hat, White Hat

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Beyond the Broken Window

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In Search of a Stolen Fiddle

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Displaced in the D.R.

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Quietest Place in the Universe

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Post
“Don sucked the last of his drink through his straw and licked his lips. 'The coast, to me, is more interesting than the valley.'”
Photograph by the author
Article
Fred Morton, who died this week in Vienna, at the age of 90, was a longtime contributor to Harper's Magazine and a good friend. "Othello's Son," which was listed as a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2013, appeared in our September 2013 issue.
Photograph © Alex Gotfryd/CORBIS
Article
Beyond the Broken Window·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“By the time Bratton left the department, in 2009, Los Angeles had quietly become the most spied-on city in America.”
Illustration by Taylor Callery
Article
Displaced in the D.R.·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“How is it possible that my birth certificate is invalid if I was born here?”
Photograph by Pierre Michel Jean
Article
The Quietest Place in the Universe·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Gaitskell and his colleagues are approaching the revelation of a new order, a new universe, in which even light will be known differently, and darkness as well.”
Painting by Sebastiaan Bremer

Number of African countries with vaccination rates higher than that of the United States:

16

Iowa urologists reported that only a minor portion of locker-room teasing arises from “the presence of excess foreskin”; most teasing targets small penises.

A farmer in Surrey, England, was ordered by the Reigate and Banstead Borough Council to tear down his cannon-equipped castle, which he had built secretly and then concealed behind hay bales.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Subways Are for Sleeping

By

“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”

Subscribe Today