by David Eggert | The Associated Press
LANSING, Mich. — Michigan’s attorney general is asking federal prosecutors to launch a criminal investigation into 16 Republicans who submitted false certificates claiming to be the state’s presidential voter despite Joe Biden’s 154,000-vote victory in 2020 .
Dana Nessel, a Democrat, revealed on Thursday that her office had been evaluating the allegations for nearly a year, but decided to refer the matter to a US attorney in western Michigan.
“Under state law, I clearly think you have a public records forgery, which is a 14-year felony, and election law forgery, which is a five-year felony,” she told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. Told. But the Justice Department, she said, is best suited to investigate and potentially prosecute.
A spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office declined to comment on Friday.
Nessel accused a “coordinated effort” between Republican parties in several battleground states, including Michigan, to advance so-called alternative voters with forged documents. She said she wants federal officials to evaluate the possible charges.
“Obviously this is part of a much bigger conspiracy,” Nessel said.
American Oversight, a watchdog group, obtained certificates submitted by Republicans in seven states last March: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. New Mexico and Pennsylvania Republicans put out a warning saying this was done after they were later recognized as duly elected, eligible voters.
On January 8, 2021, the Office of the Federal Register — which coordinates some of the Electoral College’s functions between states and Congress — appointed Michigan’s election director and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s chief counsel in an email that she had received unofficial, signed certificates from the GOP. Voters who were not appointed by the Democratic governor. The group includes Republican National Committeewoman Kathy Burden and Michigan Republican Party co-chair Mason Maddock.
The Michigan GOP had no immediate comment. The Associated Press left messages seeking comment from Burden and Maddock on Friday.
Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s office last month emailed the US House Committee to investigate the January 6 Capitol uprising.
When Michigan voters cast 16 votes for Biden in December 2020 after validating a victory of 2.8 percentage points, a separate group that included some Republican State House members joined forces with candidates for Donald Trump’s Electoral College in the state capitol. Tried to enter. They were turned away by the state police but the certificate claimed that they were met “at the state capitol”.
Invalid certificates were also sent to the US Senate, Benson, and the Federal Court of Western Michigan. Two Republicans did not sign the documents and were turned over.
There are complaints pending in Wisconsin alleging that GOP voters in that swing state have committed fraud by submitting false paperwork. Biden won Wisconsin by only 21,000 votes, resulting in recounts, lawsuits and investigations into fraud.
Complaints have been filed with the bipartisan Wisconsin Election Commission and the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office. Neither has publicly announced any action taken in response. Another complaint against Andrew Hitt, an attorney who was then chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party, has been filed with the agency that handles complaints against attorneys.
In Pennsylvania, Trump voters sign documents at a Republican marketing adviser’s office two blocks from the state capitol. The state Republican Party then said that Trump voters met at the campaign’s request and described it as a “conditional vote”.
Trump’s President of Pennsylvania, Bernie Comfort, said it was “procedural” in the event the election was overturned. She claimed it was “not an attempt to usurp or fight the will of Pennsylvania voters,” even though Trump and his allies were pressuring lawmakers and the courts to do so at the time.
Associated Press writers Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisconsin and Mark Levy in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania contributed.