Staffers of former Rep. McCotter charged with ballot petition forgery

Four staffers of former Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) were charged Thursday with 34 criminal acts stemming from the alleged filing of fraudulent ballot signatures in order to ensure the incumbent lawmaker had a spot on the ballot.

"The petition collection efforts were carried out by a dysfunctional congressional staff that had completely lost its moral compass," said a report by the Michigan Attorney General obtained by the Detroit Free Press. "Staffers functioned in a culture completely indifferent to the requirements of law, and with the arrogant attitude that the rules simply did not apply to them."

ADVERTISEMENT
Officials for the state said that it appeared that staffers had forged or copied-and-pasted hundreds of the 2,000 signatures required to ensure McCotter would appear on the ballot. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said at a press conference Thursday the result "would make an elementary art teacher cringe," according to the paper.

McCotter resigned in June, citing the "nightmarish" effect of the investigation on his family. In a statement Thursday, McCotter thanked the investigators.

"I thank the Attorney General and his office for their earnest, thorough work on this investigation, which I requested, and their subsequent report," McCotter said. "For my family and I, this closure commences our embrace of the enduring blessings of private life."

Announcing the indictment Thursday, Schuette said it also appeared that McCotter staffers forged signatures in 2008, simply copying their 2006 petition.

But Schuette said that although McCotter appeared to be "asleep at the switch," the investigation had not turned up any direct links to the former congressman, and he was unlikely to be charged.

In his resignation letter, released in July, McCotter had pledged to assist in the investigation.

“I do not leave for an existing job and face diminishing prospects (and am both unwilling and ill-suited to lobby), my priorities are twofold: find gainful employment to help provide for my family; and continue to assist, in any way they see fit, the Michigan Attorney General's earnest and thorough investigation, which I requested, into the 2012 petition filing,” his statement said.

Earlier in the letter, the five-term Michigan Republican said the controversy had "severed the necessary harmony between the needs of my constituency and of my family."

"As this harmony is required to serve, its absence requires I leave," he said.

"The recent event's totality of calumnies, indignities and deceits have weighed most heavily upon my family," he added. "Thus, acutely aware one cannot rebuild their hearth of home amongst the ruins of their U.S. House office, for the sake of my loved ones I must 'strike another match, go start anew' by embracing the promotion back from public servant to sovereign citizen."


This post was updated at 2:58 p.m.


More in Blog Briefing Room

WH staffer indicted on assault charges

Read more »