Mar 17, 2011 2:34 PM GMT
PONTIAC, Mich. (WJBK) - Two former leaders of the Oakland County Democratic Party are facing a total of nine felonies for allegedly forging election paperwork to get fake Tea Party candidates on November's ballot.
"It is not a partisan statement, and we need to make that very clear," said Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper.
Former Oakland County Democratic Chair Mike McGuinness and former Democratic Operations Director Jason Bauer face up to 14 years in prison if convicted.
"Some of the people didn't even know they were on the ballot till they began receiving delinquency notices of filings that were required as a candidate," said Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard.
The sheriff says 23 statewide races had questionable Tea Party candidates on the ballot and the investigation may go beyond Oakland County.
"It was learned that a scheme was developed by a party leader in Lansing to place on the ballot people pretending to be Tea Party activists and that this was going to be a statewide effort," Bouchard said.
John Tramontana, a spokesperson for the state Democratic Party, told FOX 2 that this was not a state party issue and it's not our place to comment.
"What we have here is illegal. It's forgery. It's fraud. It's perjury. It's those things. Then you cross a different line," said Bouchard.
It's not illegal to be a non-serious candidate. That's not what's being alleged here. What is being alleged is that the people that were on the ballot were phony candidates and that they got there by fraudulent means. That's the crime.