AG announces charges against 4 after McCotter petition mess - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

AG announces charges against 4 after McCotter petition mess

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Former U.S. Representative Thaddeus McCotter  (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com) Former U.S. Representative Thaddeus McCotter (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com)
DETROIT (WJBK) -

"This is a case of Thad McCotter being asleep at the switch.  The congressman has resigned in disgrace.  The district got stiffed.  People got stiffed," state Attorney General Bill Schuette said Thursday.

He slammed former U.S. Representative Thaddeus McCotter, the politician from Livonia known for his sharp wit and sarcasm on Capital Hill, as well as his musical talents on the guitar.

"This is not frat boys go to Washington.  This is not a garage band in D.C.  Public service is about serving people."

Something Schuette said McCotter didn't do as members of his campaign staff engaged in election fraud by submitting fake petition signatures to get McCotter's name on the ballot, xeroxing, cutting and pasting from previous years, the fraud dating back as far as petitions from 2006.

A part-time clerk at the Secretary of State's office noticed the sloppy petitions.

"They copied petitions, submitted petitions falsely signed by circulators and did cut and paste jobs that would make an elementary art teacher cringe, and in the end, Congressman McCotter is responsible for the conduct and the misconduct of those in his employe."

But he said there was no evidence McCotter himself committed a crime.  Now charged are his deputy district director 33-year-old Don Yowchuang, 47-year-old district director Paul Seewald, 58-year-old district representative Mary Melissa Turnbull and 52-year-old Lorianne O'Brady, a McCotter employee.

What's not clear is why, but the charges are serious ranging from forgery and conspiracy to falsely signing election documents.

"The motivation, frankly, it's immaterial.  The fact here is that former Congressman McCotter was asleep at the switch."

Actually the motivation is not immaterial at all, but nobody was home when we went knocking on the defendants' doors.

Nobody answered the door at the home of the former congressman, either, though he did release a statement thanking the attorney general for his investigation, saying for his family, "this closure commences our embrace of the enduring blessings of private life."

The attorney general said it was a thorough investigation.  75 people were interviewed and more than 700 documents were removed from a former campaign headquarters in Plymouth, but Schuette said there may still be more evidence of wrongdoing out there.

"If we receive any new information, new evidence, if any of these charges that we filed today cause new evidence to occur, won't hesitate for a moment to file charges."

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