Probe Sought For Possible Sham Tea Party In Michigan

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Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson is calling for a probe into the Oakland County Democratic Party in connection with allegedly fraudulent candidate filings by the mysterious Tea Party there.

Tea Partiers in Michigan claim that the Michigan Tea Party — which had aimed to get 23 candidates on the ballot this fall — was set up by Democrats in an effort to split the Republican vote. And the conservative Patterson is calling for a one-man grand jury to investigate whether Jason Bauer, former political director of the Oakland County Dems, committed a crime when he notarized and filed papers for those Tea Party candidates.According to The Detroit News, Patterson says “possible crimes include perjury, election fraud, misconduct in office, uttering and publishing (a legal term for document forgery) and obstruction of justice.”

“There are people who would subvert the political process to their own ends, engage in criminal activity to undermine the system and achieve their nefarious goals,” Patterson said in a press conference yesterday. “This is a brutish attempt to confuse voters and take away Republican votes.”

As TPM’s Evan McMorris-Santoro has reported:

The state Democratic Party has repeatedly denied any involvement in the Tea Party since allegations were first raised, but some Democrats have confessed to being involved in creating the Party and recruiting candidates.

Those Democrats include a Democratic firm called Progressive Campaigns, Inc., which collected signatures to get the Tea Party a spot on the ballot. Bauer, who was forced to resign last weekend, himself notarized 12 of the 23 filings, some of which included such suspect data as a 1990 birth date, or the name of a candidate who claims he never actually filed to run.

The Tea Party is, for now, off the ballot.

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