Michigan Dems charged in fake tea party scandal

Two Michigan Democrats were arraigned Wednesday on election corruption charges for allegedly propping up of fake tea party candidates in 2010, the Detroit News reports.

Former county Democratic Party Chairman Michael McGuinness (right) and ex-operations director Jason Bauer have been charged with forgery, putting people up for office without their knowledge and other charges. The two party leaders allegedly conspired to field phony tea party candidates in an apparent bid to siphon off GOP votes and boost Democrats in two Michigan County Commission races and a state Senate race last year, according to the newspaper. Several of the charges are felonies, some of which carry penalties of up to 14 years in prison.

McGuinnes and Bauer resigned their positions in August. News reports indicate they have not commented on this week's charges.

Last year, as tea party power grew across the country, tea partiers began accusing Democrats and others of using their party label to run fake candidates and skew elections. A lawsuit was filed in Florida last year where Democrats, including then-Rep. Alan Grayson, were accused of creating a Florida Tea Party.

(Photo of McGuinness: Oakland County Sheriff's Department via AP)