MI AG Charges Far-Right Hoaxsters For Robocalls With False Vote-By-Mail Claims

Lobbyist Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl during a press conference. (Tierney Sneed/TPM)
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl — a President Trump-loving duo who were behind a series of notoriously outlandish schemes to smear Trump’s opponents — face felony charges for their alleged involvement in robocalls that spread false claims about voting by mail.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel unveiled the charges Thursday. Among them are charges of voter intimidation and conspiracy to commit an election law violation.

“Any effort to interfere with, intimidate or intentionally mislead Michigan voters will be met with swift and severe consequences,” Nessel said. “This effort specifically targeted minority voters in an attempt to deter them from voting in the November election.”

“We’re all well aware of the frustrations caused by the millions of nuisance robocalls flooding our cell phones and landlines each day, but this particular message poses grave consequences for our democracy and the principles upon which it was built,” she continued. “Michigan voters are entitled to a full, free and fair election in November and my office will not hesitate to pursue those who jeopardize that.”

Nessel and Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced their inquiries into the calls, which were first picked up in Detroit, in August. The calls told the recipients falsely that voting by mail would put their information in databases used for arrest warrants, debt collection and “mandatory vaccines.” The robocalls fashioned themselves as coming from a group led by Wohl and Burkman.

In denying his involvement to TPM in August, Burkman claimed that “no one in their right mind would put their cell in robo call.”

According to Thursday’s announcement, the robocalls went out to nearly 12,000 residents in Detroit. Attorneys general offices in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois also told Nessel that there were similar calls in their states, Nessel’s announcement said.

Additionally she received assistance in the investigation from California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

The announcement said that charges had been filed Thursday in the 36th District Court in Detroit. Arraignment is pending for the defendants.

“The Attorney General’s office will be working – with local law enforcement if necessary – to secure the appearance of each defendant in Michigan,” the announcement said. “It’s too early to say if formal extradition will be necessary or if they will present themselves here voluntarily in the very near future.”

Latest News

Notable Replies

  1. Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl

    How will we miss them if they … never … go … away?

  2. How about if they get sent away? That would be fine with me.

  3. Oh noes! Not the Soggy Zipper Boys!

  4. Yes please make an example of these Roger Stone wannabees.

Continue the discussion at forums.talkingpointsmemo.com

526 more replies


Avatar for ghost Avatar for richardinjax Avatar for srfromgr Avatar for mattinpa Avatar for eggrollian Avatar for cervantes Avatar for chelsea530 Avatar for lastroth Avatar for left_in_washington_state Avatar for leftcoaster Avatar for dommyluc Avatar for misterneutron Avatar for castor_troy Avatar for cub_calloway Avatar for bwillator Avatar for occamscoin Avatar for heartflow Avatar for rascal_crone Avatar for entrada Avatar for visionseeker Avatar for dogselfie Avatar for LeeHarveyGriswold Avatar for Hektor6766 Avatar for Scoutmom

Continue Discussion
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: