Thaddeus McCotter: Ex-Aide Took Bribe to Sabotage My Re-election

Tuesday, 12 Nov 2013 02:47 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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An ex-aide of former Rep. Thaddeus McCotter accepted a bribe to deliberately sabotage McCotter's 2012 re-election campaign, the former lawmaker charges.

The Michigan Republican last year missed a filing deadline for a re-election bid after state elections officials discovered that signatures on his nominating petition had been forged.

According to The Detroit News, McCotter says in a civil lawsuit against longtime aide Don Yowchuang that Yowchuang intentionally submitted fake petitions in return for money to repay $20,000 to his Central Michigan College fraternity that he allegedly embezzled. Yowchuang, now a car salesman, is attempting to declare personal bankruptcy.

"It appears that Yowchuang's sole purpose for filing for bankruptcy was to avoid the discovery process in the civil case, which will reveal how Yowchuang's financial condition magically changed in his favor between November 2011 and July 2013," McCotter wrote in his legal complaint last month to the bankruptcy court, The News reported. He did not say where he thinks the money came from, but insisted the petition fraud was "motivated by the promise of financial gain."

The fake petitions ended up keeping the five-term McCotter off the 2012 ballot. Yowchuang and other aides were convicted last year of submitting false petitions. At the time, the congressman said he had been told by his aides that at least 1,000 valid voter signatures nominating him to a sixth term had been turned in, only to find out after the primary filing deadline had passed that the signatures had been rejected.

Republican Kerry Bentivolio was elected to his seat.

McCotter was not cited by elections officials for any wrongdoing. His attorney told The News he is making the charges against Yowchuang now in an effort to repair his tarnished image.

McCotter says in the complaint that Yowchaung came to him in November 2011, asking for $20,000 to clear up his "misunderstanding" with the fraternity. McCotter says Yowchaung proposed that the campaign lend him $20,000 or give him a $10,000 advance for political work and make a $10,000 adjustment in his $99,500 annual salary.

The former lawmaker said he denied the request and advised the aide to hire an attorney and work out the issues. But one month after Yowchaung asked for help, McCotter says, he built a $252,000 home and later paid his fraternity $22,000, The News reported.

Yowchaung was charged with forgery and a number of misdemeanor counts in connection with the fraudulent petitions. He pleaded no contest a year ago and was sentenced to three years' probation and 22 hours of community service.

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