(CNN) – Four staffers for former Rep. Thaddeus McCotter were charged by the Michigan attorney general's office Thursday with submitting fake ballot petitions to get the Michigan lawmaker on the ballot for re-election.
The unsuccessful GOP 2012 presidential candidate resigned from his congressional post in July after failing to gain a spot on the primary ballot for re-election to the 11th District.
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After submitting signatures for placement on the MI-11 primary ballot, the state attorney general found that McCotter did not have the required number needed and that the names submitted "included duplicate signatures and the appearance of altered petitions." The office stated it would open a criminal investigation to "investigate allegations of possible fraud."
That investigation led to Thursday's charges.
"This was not simply keystone cops run amok – serious criminal acts were committed, and following a thorough and complete investigation, felony charges have been filed," Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette wrote in a statement.
A total of 34 felony and misdemeanor charges were filed Thursday against McCotter staffers Don Yowchuang, Paul Seewald, and Mary Melissa Turnbull, and former staffer Lorianne O'Brady. Schuette said that his investigation included 75 interviews with witnesses and a review of thousands of documents.
The attorney general, however, was certain not to implicate McCotter himself in any criminal activity.
"In a position of public trust, the elected official has a duty to be engaged and involved, and must 'mind the store,'" Schuette wrote. "Here, former Congressman McCotter was asleep at the switch. He failed to mind the store and appears to have provided no supervision whatsoever to his staff members."
McCotter responded to the charges Thursday, writing in a statement: "I thank the Attorney General and his office for their earnest, thorough work on this investigation, which I requested, and their subsequent report. For my family and I, this closure commences our embrace of the enduring blessings of private life."
CNN's Rebecca Stewart, Jackie Castillo and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.
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