In Michigan, a group claiming to be the “Tea Party” has put 23 candidates on the ballot around the state, despite not having any known connections to established conservative or tea party groups. It was suspected that this was part of a plot by Democratic operatives to split the Republican vote in November. Now a Democratic party official is being forced to resign for his role in the scheme, and may even have engaged in illegal activity:
The Oakland County Democratic Party says it has requested and accepted the resignation of operations director Jason Bauer in the wake of accusations he notarized campaign filings for a fake Tea Party candidate.
“We are saddened by this situation, but cannot condone his alleged actions,” the OCDP said Sunday in a released statement. “For the sake of the organization, we must part ways effective immediately.”
Oakland County Clerk Ruth Johnson, a Republican candidate for secretary of state, announced the allegations against Bauer on Friday, noting she had turned over documents to the county prosecutor and Michigan Attorney General’s office for further investigation.
According to the Detroit Free-Press, 12 of the 23 “Tea Party” affidavits were notarized by Bauer, and misusing a notary public designation is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000. What’s more, at least one of the candidates Bauer signed up was shocked to learn he was on the ballot:
When Aaron Tyler started getting letters and calls about his candidacy for the Oakland County Board of Commissioners, he had no idea what the callers were talking about.
He had gotten a new job and moved from Springfield Township to Phoenix in late July and had no intention of running for office.
“I figured it must have been some sort of mistake,” Tyler wrote in a letter to the Oakland County Clerk’s Office. “I believe a fraud was committed.”