(CNN) - A group looking to brand itself as a political party in Michigan – going by the name of "The Tea Party" - is facing widespread criticism from Republicans and tea party activists, who accuse the group of fraud and deception.
Their main argument: They are a front for the Democratic Party, and are trying to siphon away votes from Republicans and genuine tea party-backed candidates this November.
On Monday, the Michigan State Canvassing Board voted against giving the group political party status after listening to testimony from witnesses questioning the group's intentions and the validity of the signatures they collected on petitions.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Oakland County Clerk Ruth Johnson told the board that nomination documents for one Tea Party candidate for the county commission were a "straightforward fraud."
Johnson, a Republican, has also asked for a criminal investigation of Jason Bauer, an Oakland County Democratic Party official who, she said, "notarized at least nine Tea Party candidate affidavits, including one who told her office his signature had been forged," according to the paper.
The Oakland County Democratic Party Executive Board said in a statement on its website that it was "saddened" by the situation, but "cannot condone his alleged actions. For the sake of the organization, we must part ways effective immediately."
CNN reached out to the Oakland County Democratic Party for a comment, and is awaiting a call back.
The move on Monday, though, has not stopped the group from moving forward.
Attorney John Pirich, who said he represented the Tea Party group, filed an appeal with the Michigan Court of Appeals Tuesday, a court clerk told CNN.