AG kicks off investigation into false election fraud claims, review of GOP chair’s alleged 2018 payoff 

By: - July 12, 2021 1:14 pm

Sign at at a Trump Rally outside the Michigan State Capitol Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020 | Anna Liz Nichols

Attorney General Dana Nessel has accepted an invitation from state Republican leaders to investigate allegations of people profiting off false claims of election fraud. 

Last month, the GOP-led Senate Oversight Committee wrapped its 8-month investigation into claims of widespread evidence of voter fraud in Michigan and released a 35-page report showing the continued right-wing claims of election fraud are baseless. 

At the request of Chair Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan), Nessel, a Democrat, agreed last week to take on an investigation into “those who have been utilizing misleading and false information about Antrim County to raise money or publicity for their own ends.” The northern Michigan county, which is a GOP stronghold, but briefly erroneously showed Democratic President Joe Biden defeating former President Donald Trump, has been the subject of many pro-Trump conspiracy theories.

A spokesperson from the attorney general’s office did not provide additional details into the ongoing investigation, but noted that the Michigan State Police will be assisting in the investigation. 

The report received backlash from some Republicans who are continuing the push to invalidate Biden’s win in Michigan, including former state Sen. Pat Colbeck (R-Canton) who started a petition to censure McBoom, Lana Theis (R-Brighton) and John Bizon (R-Battle Creek) over its findings.

Former President Donald Trump also bashed McBroom and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) after the report was released. 

The AG’s office is also looking into an issue regarding the Michigan Republican Party.

After Chair Ron Weiser agreed this month to pay $200,000 to resolve a complaint alleging the state party paid a candidate to drop out of the 2018 secretary of state race, Nessel’s office says she is reviewing the incident. 

The Michigan Secretary of State’s office has been investigating a complaint filed by former GOP Chair Laura Cox in February. She alleged improper payments from the Michigan GOP to Stan Grot to drop out of the Michigan secretary of state primary against eventual nominee Mary Treder Lang. 

“We are currently reviewing the matter and have no details to provide at this time,” Nessel spokesperson Lynsey Mokumel said.

A spokesperson for the Michigan Republican Party did not respond to a request for comment on the attorney general’s review. 

According to reporting from the Detroit News, Weiser denied wrongdoing and stated that he agreed to pay the $200,000 because “the litigation costs to the party would have amounted to more than the payment demanded by the secretary of state.”

Weiser’s agreement to resolve the complaint bars Benson from taking any further action on the alleged payout. 


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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.