Former McCotter staffers charged with faking nominating signatures
August 9th, 2012
01:49 PM ET
2 years ago

Former McCotter staffers charged with faking nominating signatures

(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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Filed under: Michigan • Thad McCotter
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. kevin

    Repubs lie and cheat...anyone suprised?

    August 9, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  2. myviewis

    Well, this proves the point as to why ID's should be required for voting in all states because if these staffers were willing to pull such a stunt imagine how the voting polls will be packed with people just like these staffers trying to pull voting illegalities. I read yesterday that to apply for Welfare you have to submit certain documents such as proof of income, ID, utility bills, or other proof of residency which leads me to believe that these same people applying for welfare are going to want to vote in November which means if they can meet the requirements for Welfare then they should be able to meet the requirement of ID for voting, they should be able to use the same ID they use for Welfare.

    August 9, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  3. Working Mother

    There they go again! The Republicans gaming and cheating the system one more time! WAKE UP PEOPLE! They are a bunch of CROOKS!

    August 9, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  4. Pander Bear

    Felony and misdemeanor charges for a GOP candidate for President? You mean Mitt finally released his tax returns?

    August 9, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  5. Mark

    See! Told you!! Voter Fraud!!! Oh wait.....

    August 9, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  6. Victoria

    And they like to accuse the Democrats of voter fraud....

    August 9, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  7. EDDIE

    I wonder if the GOP's war on voter fraud had this covered in their bill's?

    August 9, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  8. first

    Is this a case of G.O.P fraud.

    August 9, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  9. Al-NY,NY

    "Obama does nothing but perpetuate voter fraud".............."boom boom. OUT GO THE LIGHTS" as the Pat Travers song says about this GOP blather

    August 9, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  10. Jeff

    Shouldn't it be McCotter who gets in trouble? He told the staffers to do that, right?

    August 9, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  11. PJ

    But McCotter gets off anyway. Looks like the Republicans need to clean up their own voter fraud tactics before
    they change laws denying rights to legitimate voters.

    August 9, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  12. cali girl

    What! Voter Fraud? Say it aint so for the party of NO.

    August 9, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  13. Lynda/Minnesota

    "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."

    Does this mean we can now cross McCotter off our "up and coming" GOP rising star list? Just to be clear, he IS a Republican, isn't he?

    This being voter fraud and all ...

    August 9, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  14. scmom

    Crooks committing voter fraud to prove voter fraud. One question, why didn't we need all these ID changes during the republican primary? So blatant and in our faces they do have the nerve.

    August 9, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  15. 90 Days until Obama is RE-ELECTED

    Wow!! I guess this proves the Grand Obstructionist Party is right about voter fraud.. too bad it's their own party that is responsible. 34 Felony and misdemeanor charges were filed.... heck! that's more than the ENTIRE USA in the last 10 years....
    Do I hear crickets chirping in the GOP controlled House ?? I sure do....

    August 9, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  16. george of the jungle

    gosh a repo that lies I am shocked. Forward 2012

    August 9, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  17. myviewis

    My point exactly guys, this is why we need to require proof of ID for voting and if Welfare can require ID than so should voting require ID.

    August 9, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  18. ghostriter

    Now, in heavily Democratic cities like Cleveland, Columbus, Akron and Toledo, early voting hours will be limited to 8 am until 5 pm on weekdays beginning on October 1, with no voting at night or during the weekend, when it’s most convenient for working people to vote. Republican election commissioners have blocked Democratic efforts to expand early voting hours in these counties, where the board of elections are split equally between Democratic and Republican members. Ohio Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted has broken the tie by intervening on behalf of his fellow Republicans. (According to the Board of Elections, 82% of early voters in Franklin County voted early on nights or weekends, which Republicans have curtailed. The number who voted on nights or weekends was nearly 50% in Cuyahoga County.)

    "I cannot create unequal access from one county board to another, and I must also keep in mind resources available to each county,” Husted said in explaining his decision to deny expanded early voting hours in heavily Democratic counties. Yet in solidly Republican counties like Warren and Butler, GOP election commissioners have approved expanded early voting hours on nights and weekends. Noted the Cincinnati Enquirer: “The counties where Husted has joined other Republicans to deny expanded early voting strongly backed then-candidate Barack Obama in 2008, while most of those where the extra hours will stand heavily supported GOP nominee John McCain.” Moreover, budget constraints have not stopped Republican legislators from passing costly voter ID laws across the map since 2010.

    August 9, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "this proves the point as to why ID's should be required for voting in all states"

    No it doesn't. There is 0% chance that voter IDs would stop this kind of fraud. The only type fo fraud they prevent is in-person voting fraud...and there's really no evidence whatsoever that in-person voting fraud is a widespread, pervesive problem. Even conservative groups scrabbling to try to make an argument that it is have only been able to come up with, at best, 340 examples over a 10 year period. Granted, uberdemagogue Hans van Spakovsky is about to come out with a book that alleges it's widespread and attempts to justify the claim, but he's been discredited by every single other elections law expert on the face of the continent, so he's pretty much just there to be laughed at.

    August 9, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "imagine how the voting polls will be packed with people just like these staffers trying to pull voting illegalities"

    Key word: imagine.

    Indeed.

    August 9, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  21. Sandy

    So this is the real voter fraud republicans were talking about. I said before, when Republicans accuse someone of doing something, they are trying to hide the fact that they are the ones doing it. What a bunch of crooks!

    August 9, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  22. Thomas

    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.

    Maybe now he can go back to being a mediocre guitar player and start a band with Kidd Rock and Ted Nugget !

    August 9, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  23. ghostriter

    How about republicans getting rid of early voting in Ohio, then extending it to military personnel only? However, that is not bad as it is now being reported that many counties in OH that tend to swing republican have voted across party lines to extend early voting hours to evenings and weekends. However, in counties that lean democrat, it is dead locked at 2-2 with the republican sec of state providing the last vote.

    Voting fraud is bad. Restricting the voting rights of individuals that may not vote for you is underhanded and probably un-constitutional. But we all know conservatives only regard the constitution when it serves them and disregard it otherwise.

    August 9, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  24. 90 Days until Obama is RE-ELECTED

    "imagine how the voting polls will be packed with people just like these staffers trying to pull voting illegalities"

    This ranks right up there with the Grand Obstructionist Party's amnesiac revisionist view of history, and why we have the fiscal challenges we do...

    August 9, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  25. riptin

    This voter fraud from the republicans needs to be aired around the country so america can see just what these people are like win at all cost including cheating.

    August 9, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
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