Cochran campaign denies vote-buying reports

Russell said the campaign hired Fielder for get-out-the-vote work.

“We hire a lot of people, black, white, young, old, to help with get out the vote efforts,” Russell said. “… Whether you’re a high school kid in Northeast Jackson or a retired nurse in Greenwood, if you’re out working doors for us, you get paid in cash, in an envelope. Saleem asked the guy for names and addresses for (Federal Election Commission) filing purposes. Why would you ask a guy for names and addresses if you’re buying votes?”



Jordan said the campaign agreed to pay Fielder $600, half up front for campaign work.

“He was paid for reimbursement for gas, driving people around, get out the vote work,” Russell said. “But he never completed any work for the second $300. He never provided any names and addresses of people he said he was getting to work. He waffled on providing names and addresses.”

Russell said the campaign’s “standard rate” for people knocking on doors and doing other GOTV work is “$25 a shift — $25 in the morning, then a lunch break, then $25 for the afternoon.”



“This is obviously a guy who is a liar, who sold his story to a blogger who’s openly proclaiming he will pay people to tell him a story,” Russell said. “… Most disturbing is (Johnson) is attempting to solicit pictures of Mrs. Rose Cochran in her nursing home, with a bounty up to $1,000.”

The report says Fielder is an associate pastor at First Missionary Baptist Church in Meridian.



Church Deacon Robert Markham said Fielder is not an associate pastor at the church, but is a self-proclaimed minister.

Church member Melba Clark, a member of the Lauderdale County Democratic Executive Committee and its former longtime chairman, said she doesn’t believe any vote buying happened.

“Not only do I not believe any vote buying went on, I don’t even know who Mr. Fielder was supposed to have taken to the polls,” Clark said. “I’m not aware of any people that Mr. Fielder took to the polls, or anybody having promised money to people. Yes, I think I would have heard about that.”

Both Markham and Clark say Fielder’s reputation in the area is less than stellar.



Clarion Ledger
7/1/14