Four staffers for former U.S. Representative and Republican presidential candidate Thaddeus McCotter were charged in connection with an election fraud investigation this morning. While no charges were brought against McCotter himself, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette slammed the former Rep. for being “asleep at the switch.”
The Detroit Free Press reports:
-Don Yowchuang 33, of Farmington Hills, was charged with 10 counts of election law forgery, a five-year felony; one count of conspiracy to commit a legal act in an illegal manner, a 5-year felony, and six counts of falsely signing a nominating petition, all misdemeanors.
-Paul Seewald, 47, of Livonia, was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit a legal act in an illegal manner, nine counts of falsely signing a nominating petition.
-Mary Melissa Turnbull, 58, of Howell, district representative: one count of conspiracy to commit a legal act in an illegal manner, and one count of falsely signing a nominating petition.
-Lorianne O’Brady, former scheduler, 52, of Livonia, charged with five counts of falsely signing a nominating petition.
Schuette launched the investigation in late May, after almost 90 percent of the voter signatures that McCotter’s campaign turned in to get him on the ballot for re-election were shown to be invalid. At the time, Chris Thomas — Michigan’s director of elections — said that the fraud was “frankly unheard of…It’s amazing when you sit and look, and it starts to dwell on you what they’ve done.”
Today, Schuette echoed Thomas’ opinion. The four staffers were “not simply Keystone Kops running amok,” he told the Detroit Free Press. “Criminal acts were committed.”
Schuette added that the quality of the forged signatures — many of which were cut and pasted from previous years’ forms — “would make an elementary art teacher cringe.”
Although McCotter was never a serious contender for the Republican nomination, he was a powerful Congressman, serving as Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee. He was expected to coast to re-election before the fraud allegations derailed his campaign.
Since the allegations hit, his life has taken a rather depressing turn. He abruptly resigned from Congress on July 6th, saying that the “past nightmarish month and a half have, for the first time, severed the necessary harmony between the needs of my constituency and of my family.” He reportedly spent much of new his down time writing a television show based on his life, in which the characters “take pot shots about McCotter’s ill-fated bid for the White House while spewing banter about drinking, sex, race, flatulence, puking and women’s anatomy.”
So while McCotter may not be going to prison, it certainly seems safe to say that this is the last we’ll hear from the former Rep. for a long while.