Michigan AG asks feds to investigate fake GOP electors

Jan 13, 2022, 2:24 PM | Updated: Jan 14, 2022, 4:05 pm
FILE - Attorney General Dana Nessel announces charges for several security guards from Northland Ma...

FILE - Attorney General Dana Nessel announces charges for several security guards from Northland Mall in the 2014 death of McKenzie Cochran during a news conference in Detroit on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. Nessel is asking federal prosecutors, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022, to open a criminal investigation into 16 Republicans who submitted false certificates stating they were the state’s presidential electors despite Joe Biden’s 154,000-vote victory in 2020. (Max Ortiz/Detroit News via AP)

(Max Ortiz/Detroit News via AP)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s attorney general is asking federal prosecutors to open a criminal investigation into 16 Republicans who submitted false certificates stating they were the state’s presidential electors despite Joe Biden’s 154,000-vote victory in 2020.

Dana Nessel, a Democrat, disclosed Thursday that her office had been evaluating charges for nearly a year but decided to refer the matter to the U.S. attorney in western Michigan.

“Under state law, I think clearly you have forgery of a public record, which is a 14-year offense, and election law forgery, which is a five-year offense,” she told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. But the Justice Department, she said, is best suited to probe and potentially prosecute.

The spokesperson for the U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment Friday.

Nessel alleged a “coordinated effort” among Republican parties in several battleground states including Michigan to push so-called alternate slates of electors with fake documents. She said she wants federal authorities to make an evaluation for possible charges.

“Obviously this is part of a much bigger conspiracy,” Nessel said.

American Oversight, a watchdog group, last March obtained certificates submitted by Republicans in seven states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. New Mexico and Pennsylvania Republicans added a caveat saying it was done in case they were later recognized as duly elected, qualified electors.

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas, a Democrat, announced he was referring his state’s case to federal authorities as well even as “review under state law is ongoing.”

“Election laws are the foundation of our democracy and must be respected,” he said.

On Jan. 8, 2021, the Office of the Federal Register — which coordinates certain functions of the Electoral College between states and Congress — notified Michigan’s elections director and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s chief lawyer in an email that it received unofficial, signed certificates from GOP electors who had not been appointed by the Democratic governor. The group includes Republican National Committeewoman Kathy Berden and Meshawn Maddock, co-chair of the Michigan Republican Party.

State GOP spokesperson Gustavo Portela accused Nessel of sitting on the information for a year and “playing political games with people’s lives and livelihoods for the sake of scoring political points ahead of an election.” The Associated Press left messages seeking comment from Berden and Maddock on Friday.

Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s office last month gave the email to a U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

When Michigan’s electors cast 16 votes for Biden in December 2020 following the certification of his 2.8 percentage point win, a separate group that included some Republican state House members tried to enter the state Capitol with Donald Trump’s Electoral College candidates. They were turned away by state police but claimed in the certificates that they met “in the State Capitol.”

The invalid certificates also were mailed to the U.S. Senate, Benson, and the federal court for western Michigan. Two Republicans did not sign the documents and were replaced.

There are complaints pending in Wisconsin alleging that GOP electors in that swing state committed fraud by submitting the false paperwork. Biden won Wisconsin by just under 21,000 votes, a result that has withstood recounts, lawsuits and investigations into fraud.

Complaints have been filed with the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission and the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office. Neither has announced publicly about any action taken in response. Another complaint against Andrew Hitt, an attorney who was chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party at the time, has been filed with the agency that handles complaints against lawyers.

In Pennsylvania, Trump electors signed the documents in an office of a Republican marketing consultant two blocks from the state Capitol. The state Republican Party said then that the Trump electors met at the request of the campaign and described it as a “conditional vote.”

Bernie Comfort, Trump’s Pennsylvania chairperson, said it was “procedural” in case the election was overturned. She claimed it was “in no way an effort to usurp or contest the will of the Pennsylvania voters,” even though Trump and his allies were pressuring lawmakers and courts at the time to do just that.

___

Associated Press writers Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisconsin, and Marc Levy in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, contributed.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Ghostface in a scene from "Scream." (Paramount Pict...
Associated Press

‘Scream’ scares off ‘Spider-Man’ with $30.6M debut

NEW YORK (AP) — After a month at no. 1, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” has finally been overtaken at the box office. Paramount Pictures’ “Scream” reboot debuted with $30.6 million in ticket sales over the weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday. “Scream,” a self-described “requel” that is both the fifth film in the franchise and […]
1 day ago
FILE - Parliament members attend a session of questions to the Government at the French National As...
Associated Press

No vaccine? No cafe, according to new French virus law

PARIS (AP) — France’s parliament approved a law Sunday that will exclude unvaccinated people from all restaurants, sports arenas and other venues, the central measure of government efforts to protect hospitals amid record numbers of infections driven by the highly contagious omicron variant. The National Assembly adopted the law by a vote of 215-58. Centrist […]
1 day ago
FILE - Stewart Rhodes, founder of the citizen militia group known as the Oath Keepers, center, spea...
Associated Press

For Oath Keepers and founder, Jan. 6 was weeks in the making

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Two days after the presidential election on Nov. 2, 2020, the Oath Keepers were already convinced that victory had been stolen from President Donald Trump and members of the far-right militia group were making plans to march on the U.S. Capitol. “We aren’t getting through this without a civil war,” the […]
1 day ago
FILE - In this April 15, 2019, file photo, a vendor makes change for a marijuana customer at a cann...
Associated Press

In California pot market, a hazy line between legal and not

LOS ANGELES (AP) — On an isolated farm, greenhouses stand in regimental order, sheltered by a fringe of trees. Inside are hundreds of head-high cannabis plants in precise rows, each rising from a pot nourished by coils of irrigation tubing. Lights powerful enough to turn night into day blaze overhead. In the five years since […]
1 day ago
Former Alaska lawmaker Jason Grenn holds an Alaska Division of Elections brochure explaining ranked...
Associated Press

Election overhaul in Alaska aimed at reducing partisanship

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — As partisan warfare has become the norm in state legislatures and Congress, Alaska is set to embark on an experiment to see if voters themselves can disarm the combatants. A new election system, narrowly passed by voters in 2020 and set to be used in this year’s races, is aimed at […]
1 day ago
Former President Donald Trump reacts to the crowd prior to speaking at a Save America Rally Saturda...
Associated Press

AP FACT CHECK: Trump seeds race animus with COVID falsehood

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump falsely declared in a weekend rally that public health authorities are denying the COVID-19 vaccine to white people because of their race. The former president seeded racial resentments in remarks that twisted the facts on public-health policy and exaggerated the effects of racially conscious antiviral treatment guidelines in New York. […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]
...

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
Michigan AG asks feds to investigate fake GOP electors