Four GOP House Staffers From Michigan Indicted for Election Fraud

Four congressional aides to Michigan Republican U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter have been indicted for falsifying nominating petitions for McCotter's 2012 re-election bid, Michigan’s Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette announced Thursday.

"The investigation conducted by this division [Michigan Attorney General Criminal Division] revealed that the petition collection efforts were carried out by a dysfunctional congressional staff that had completely lost its moral compass," the AG's August 9 investigative report said. "Staffers functioned in a culture completely indifferent to the requirements of law, and with an arrogant attitude that the rules simply did not apply to them. More efforts were expended in developing and carrying out schemes to get around the legal requirements for the circulating of nominating petitions than were made to obtain sufficient number of voter signatures."

This was not the first time that McCotter's staff had used this tactic to place him on the ballot, the AG's office said. "But perhaps even more disturbing is the fact that evidence indicates similar fraudulent petitions schemes were used in prior elections."

The petition forgeries will remove McCotter from office. After state election officials found the "duplicate and triplicate" copies of petitions, they told McCotter that he would not qualify for the 2012 ballot. He has decided not launch a write-in campaign.   

Michigan's Republican attorney general deserves credit for handling this case professionally. You might think that the state's highly partisan Secretary of State, Republican Ruth Brown--whose subordinates found the forgeries and reported it to the AG--would take notice. However, she is one of a handful of ideological state election officials who believe that non-citizens are voting in her state.   

This past Tuesday, Johnson forced all voters in the state's primary election to declare that they were citizens before getting a ballot.

That step is completely redundent because any person who registers to vote must declare, under penalty of perjury, that they are a citizen. Johnson's gambit has been severely criticized in the Michigan media as needlessly complicating the voting process, and in some cases, prompting people to leave the polls and not vote.

"Like a 5-year-old, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson is still insisting the bogeyman of voter fraud lurks somewhere in the shadows of Michigan’s elections apparatus, even though wiser folks have told her to back off from her battle against this imaginary foe," Detroit Free Press editorial page writer Stephen Henderson wrote."

It is more than ironic that while one Michigan constitutional officer, Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette, is prosecuting election fraud, that another Michigan constitutional officer, Republican Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, is imposing insulting hurdles on the state's voters under the guise of fighting the imaginary epidemic of illegal voting.

It is good to see that Michigan Republicans are not of one mind on what constitutes election fraud. Michigan's Republican governor recently vetoed a new voter ID bill, another laudable move.

A Republican congressman and his "dysfunctional" staffers are now Exhibit A for election fraud in Michigan. There is not a single Democrat involved.

AlterNet / By Steven Rosenfeld

Posted at August 9, 2012, 3:58pm

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