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Mike Espy
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    (November 30, 1953- )
    Born in Yazoo City, Mississippi
    Birth name was Alphonso Michael Espy
    Represented Mississippi’s 2nd Congressional District (1985-93)
    Secretary of Agriculture (1993-94)
    Ran for Senator from Mississippi (2018)
    Lost a run-off election to Cindy Hyde-Smith (November 27, 2018)
    He had to reimburse the Department of Agriculture $7,500 for using government vehicles for personal business.
    A foundation run by Tyson Foods gave his girlfriend a $1,200 scholarship.
    He initially told the White House he had been unaware of the gift; after admitting he had discussed the scholarship with his girlfriend, he was asked to resign.
    He was indicted on thirty charges of accepting improper gifts, including tickets to sporting events, luggage, airfare, and lodging (August 27, 1997).
    He worked as a lobbyist for Ivory Coast dictator Laurent Gbagbo.
    He was the first African American elected to Congress from Mississippi since Reconstruction.
    He made large cuts in staff and spending at the Department of Agriculture, largely by eliminating services duplicating those provided by other agencies.
    He was found not guilty on all charges (December 2, 1998).
    One of the jurors commented, ‘This was the weakest, most bogus thing I ever saw.’
    During the trial, lobbyist Richard Douglas – expected to be one of the prosecution’s star witnesses – declared that he had agreed to testify only after three years of ‘stormtrooper tactics’ by independent counsel Donald Smaltz and snapped about the expense of the investigation, ‘God knows, if I had $30 million, I could find dirt on you, sir.’

Credit: C. Fishel

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