Michigan Dem Pleads No Contest In Fake Tea Party Scheme

The former chair of the Oakland County Democratic Party pleaded no contest last week to charges that he committed voter fraud last November when attempting to get fake Tea Party candidates on the ballot in order to split the Republican vote.Michael McGuinness was scheduled to go on trial this week for perjury and forgery related to the scheme. He will now be sentenced on December 7, the Detroit Free-Press reports.

Ex-operations director Jason Bauer, who was allegedly McGuinness’ accomplice in the scheme, is scheduled for a December 8 trial.

The charges relate to a scheme to put two county commission candidates and a state senate candidate on the ballot in November 2010, without the candidates’ knowledge. The two Democrats were charged with forging the supposed candidates’ signatures and falsely swearing under oath to qualify them to enter the race.

In the lead-up to the election, Tea Partiers and Republicans in the state had been suspicious that the Michigan Tea Party was part of a scheme by Democrats to split the Republican vote. Bauer stepped down from his position following allegations that he notarized and filed papers for 13 sham candidates from the Michigan Tea Party.