Congressman Cantor and Cockfighting | Harper's Magazine

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[Washington Babylon]

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.

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