Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 23, 2014

Four Thaddeus McCotter Staffers Charged Following AG Investigation

Four Thaddeus McCotter Staffers Charged Following AG Investigation

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Four staffers for former Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) will face criminal charges for filing fraudulent ballot petitions on behalf of the former Congressman’s re-election bid.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced today the details of the charges against the accused, which include 34 felony and misdemeanor crimes.

“This was not simply keystone cops run amok — serious criminal acts were committed, and following a thorough and complete investigation, felony charges have been filed,” Schuette said in a statement.

McCotter dropped his re-election bid in June after filing only about a quarter of the requisite 1,000 valid signatures to get on the Aug. 7 primary ballot. His petitions were rife with errors and duplications, and the attorney general launched an investigation into them soon after.

Following his 10-week-long probe, Schuette charged McCotter staffers Don Yowchuang, Paul Seewald, Mary Melissa Turnbull, and Lorianne O’Brady. Schuette’s investigation included interviewing 75 witnesses, acquiring nine sworn statements and combing through 136 nominating petitions, according to a press release from his office.

The state attorney general did not charge McCotter today but blamed his mismanagement for the catastrophe.

“Here, former Congressman McCotter was asleep at the switch. He failed to mind the store and appears to have provided no supervision whatsoever to his staff members,” Schuette continued. “Election fraud will not be tolerated and this brazen attitude of indifference by public servants is disgraceful.”

The press release detailed the charges filed against each of the staffers:

Don Yowchuang, 33, deputy district director:

  • Ten counts of election law forgery, a five-year felony.
  • One count of conspiracy to commit a legal act in an illegal manner, a five-year felony.
  • Six counts of falsely signing a nominating petition as circulator, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail.

Paul Seewald, 47, district director:

  • One count of conspiracy to commit a legal act in an illegal manner, a five-year felony.
  • Nine counts of falsely signing a nominating petition as circulator, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail.

Mary Melissa Turnbull, 58, district representative:

  • One count of conspiracy to commit a legal act in an illegal manner, a five-year felony.
  • One count of falsely signing a nominating petition as circulator, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail.

Lorianne O’Brady, 52, former scheduler:

  • Five counts of falsely signing a nominating petition as circulator, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail.

For even more specifics on the charges, see the attorney general’s report below:

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