State House bill calls for the prosecution of fake electors in Michigan, six other states

Mar 15, 2022 at 1:59 pm
Michigan State Capitol. - Brian Charles Watson, Wikimedia Creative Commons
Brian Charles Watson, Wikimedia Creative Commons
Michigan State Capitol.

Democratic state lawmakers on Tuesday introduced a bill that urges state and federal investigators to prosecute Republicans in Michigan and six other battleground states “to the fullest extent of the law” for posing as presidential electors and falsely declaring that Donald Trump won the 2020 election.

The legislation, introduced by state Rep. Joe Tate, of Detroit, also condemns the actions of the 16 Michigan Republicans who signed the false certificate and accuses them of using fraudulent documents to subvert the outcome of the election.

“The plot to arrange for fake presidential electors is a perversion of our government and values that is part and parcel of the continued falsehoods over the safe, secure, and legitimate 2020 election,” the bill states. “The lies and disinformation that have served to foment violence and damage our democracy must stop and the perpetrators be brought to justice.”

In January, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel referred the case to the Justice Department and said that there’s absolutely enough evidence to warrant charges against the 16 Michigan Republicans.

The Justice Department has said it's investigating.

Michigan GOP co-chair Meshawn Maddock, who was one of the fake electors, told a crowd at a conservative gathering in January that Trump’s campaign directed the party to organize the slate to declare him the winner.

Other fake electors in Michigan were Michigan Republican National Committeewoman Kathy Berden, Shelby Township Clerk Stan Grott, Hank Choate, Rose Rook, Mayra Rodriguez, Clifford Frost, John Haggard, Kent Vanderwood, Timothy King, Michele Lundgren, Marian Sheridan, and Mari-Ann Henry.

The U.S. House Committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection subpoenaed Berden and Rodriquez to testify about the scheme.

Biden won the election in Michigan by 3 percentage points. But as Democrats gathered in the state Capitol to certify the election on Dec. 14, Republicans disregarded state law and held their own caucus with an alternate slate of delegates to “certify” the election for Trump. They tried to enter the building, but were stopped by the Michigan State Police.

In the certificates, which they sent to Vice President Mike Pence, the Michigan Secretary of State, the National Archives, and the chief judge of the western district of Michigan, the Republicans falsely claimed they had signed the documents in the Michigan Capitol.

The stunt was part of a larger effort by Michigan Republicans to attempt to reverse the outcome of the election.

“Our country’s system of election is sacred and must be adhered to by all parties, especially those in power, in the name of democracy and justice,” the bill states. “Political campaigns and actors that seek to undermine unequivocal election results tear at the fabric of the founding principles of our nation.”

In late December, Maddock's husband, state Rep. Matt Maddock, R-Milford, joined Daire Rendon, R-Lake City, in a federal lawsuit filed by Trump supporters to challenge the results of the election. The suit asked a judge to allow lawmakers to certify states' election results, a move that would enable the Republican-led Michigan Legislature to reject Biden's victory. But a judge turned down the suit, calling their arguments "flat-out wrong" and "a fundamental and obvious misreading of the Constitution."

A day before the Jan. 6 insurrection, Matt Maddock and 10 other Republican lawmakers from Michigan wrote a letter to Pence, urging him not to certify the election, questioning "the validity of hundreds of thousands of ballots" in battleground states.

Courts, local and state officials, and even members of the Trump administration have repeatedly said there is no evidence of widespread fraud.

Meshawn Maddock helped organize and promote buses of supporters from suburban Detroit to Washington, D.C. for the Jan. 6 rally.

Fourteen Michigan residents have been charged so far for participating in the insurrection.

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