UPDATED: Charges to Be Filed Against 4 of Thaddeus McCotter's Former Staffers in Election Fraud Case

The charges were announced Thursday morning by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced this morning that charges will be filed against four of Thaddeus McCotter's former campaign staffers in connection with a bizarre election fraud scandal leading to the former U.S. Congressman's resignation.

McCotter is not expected to be charged.

The staffers are accused of cutting and pasting some duplicate signatures while falsifying others for McCotter's re-election petition to get on the August 2012 primary ballot. He would have run against as the Republican incumbent to represent Michigan's 11th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. When the petition was thrown out by the Secretary of State's office, McCotter announced . Not long after, McCotter resigned the remainder of his term citing the the election had taken on him. Bentivolio, the only Republican on the primary ballot, ultimately won the election against write-ins including .

"The McCotter crew acted as if they were above the law, that the law did not apply to them. They are sadly mistaken," Schuette said in a press release.  "Election fraud will not be tolerated and this brazen attitude of indifference by public servants is disgraceful."

According to the press release, four people in McCotter's Livonia office face 34 counts of misdemeanor and felony charges:

  • Don Yowchuang, 33 of Farmington Hills, district deputy director, faces 17 counts: 10 counts of election law forgery, one count of conspiracy and six counts of falsely signing a nominating petition.
  • Paul Seewald, 47 of Livonia, district director, faces 10 counts: one count of conspiracy and nine counts of falsely signing a nomination petition.
  • Mary Melissa Turnbull, 58 of Howell, faces one count of conspiracy and one count of falsely signing a nomination petition.
  • Lorianne O’Brady, 52 of Livonia, scheduler, faces five counts of falsely signing a nominating petition.

Schuette, in a press conference this morning, said that the staff workers likely also committed the same petition frauds in the 2008 election, using 2006 signatures, the Detroit Free Press reports.

"In any position of public trust, the elected official has a duty to be engaged or involved," he said, according to WXYZ-TV's coverage of the press conference. Schuette accused McCotter of being "asleep at the switch."

He added in the press release: "If the defendants in this case had put the same amount of energy into collecting signatures as they did executing this elaborate scheme to manufacture fraudulent petitions, the outcome could have been different. Unfortunately, they chose to go down the road of felony election fraud, complete with cut and paste jobs that would make an elementary art teacher cringe."

Schuette said that if anyone else was found to be involved, that his office would not hesitate to charge them, WXYZ.com reports.

This story has been corrected at 10 a.m. on Aug. 10 from an earlier version correcting the charges listed for Lorianna O'Brady and Mary Melissa Turnbull. 

Michigan Voter August 09, 2012 at 05:54 PM
I sincerely hope one or more of these guys rolls over and claims that McCotter told them to do it.
C. R. Mudgeon August 09, 2012 at 06:52 PM
The same election fraud in both 2008 and 2012? WOW! Where was the Secretary of State 4 years ago? One of our voices in Washington was not honest? I'm shocked, I tell you, shocked!
Ron Boron August 09, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Sad, so sad.
KK August 10, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Didn't McCotter have to sign the petition? How do you not notice that pages and pages of the petition are photocopied? McCotter was more than just "asleep at the switch." In the end, he was responsible and he should be charged. Shame on Schuette for protecting McCotter. All Schuette's stern words are meaningless if he lets McCotter walk. This whole stunt cost Michigan taxpayers a million or more dollars to have a new election. It costs the federal taxpayers too since there will be a lot of work in DC to prepare an office, arrange security and add a new Congressmen and staffers just so someone can replace McCotter for the few weeks (including Christmas and Thanksgiving) that are left in his term. I also wonder if whoever replaces McCotter gets lifetime health and other benefits that Congressmen get? Thank you McCotter and staff for the waste. If McCotter had one ounce of decency, he would offer to pay part of the cost.
Tamara August 10, 2012 at 09:03 PM
I am so glad to see politicians getting the law applied to them. So many things are going on in Washington on down that should be dealt with by the law. Otherwise, we the people will have no ability to trust our government. Three huge criminals in Washington come to mind without even having to think about it. I would hope everybody agrees - nonpartison like - that those we put in power, and their staff, should be held to the letter of the law.


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