Four McCotter Aides Charged in False Petitions Scheme

Thursday, 09 Aug 2012 05:03 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Four staffers of former Rep. Thad McCotter were charged on Thursday with 34 criminal acts in connection with the alleged filing of false nominating petitions that led to McCotter’s departure from Congress.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette described the four as “not simply Keystone Kops running amok . . . criminal acts were committed,” in a report obtained by the Detroit Free Press.

“The petition collection efforts were carried out by a dysfunctional congressional staff that had completely lost its moral compass," the report continued. “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.”

Schuette said the forgeries were so bad they "would make an elementary art teacher cringe."

According to the report, state officials said it appeared that staffers had copied-and-pasted or forged hundreds of the 2,000 signatures required to ensure McCotter, a five-term Michigan Republican, would appear on the ballot.

McCotter resigned last month, citing the “nightmarish” effect of the investigation on his family. He thanked the investigators in a statement released on Thursday.

McCotter had pledged to work with authorities in his resignation letter.

“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 in the Thursday statement. “For my family and I, this closure commences our embrace of the enduring blessings of private life.”

Schuette also said that it appeared that McCotter staffers forged signatures in 2008 by simply copying their 2006 petition.

He added 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.

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