State Launches Official Investigation into U.S. Rep. McCotter's Campaign

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Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced that the state is launching an official investigation into the allegations of election fraud that have been levied at the campaign of U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Livonia). Schuette made the announcement on Thursday, according to reports by MLive and other media outlets.

Schuette's announcement comes after the state's Bureau of Elections discovered that only 244 of the nearly 2,000 signatures that McCotter's campaign submitted on his petition to run for re-election were valid. The rest appeared to be either duplicates, photocopied, or cut and pasted from previous petitions, according to the secretary of state's office.

Here are some of the key details surrounding the allegations of election fraud that now surround McCotter's campaign.

* McCotter was first informed of the state's findings last Friday, at which point he denied any personal wrongdoing or knowledge of the alleged fraud.

* On Tuesday, McCotter put in his own request that the state formally investigate the matter. He also announced that he would run for reelection as a write-in candidate in the state's 11th district.

* After Schuette's announcement on Thursday, McCotter issued a statement thanking him for launching a more formal investigation into the matter and promised to cooperate.

* In making his announcement, Schuette, himself a Republican, said that the investigation "will follow the facts, without fear or favor," as quoted in the Detroit News. He also said that if the probe uncovered evidence of "criminal violations" that the state "will not hesitate to prosecute."

* McCotter himself has placed the blame for the issues with his reelection petitions on outside sources. On Tuesday, he told media outlets that "somebody either panicked or it was sabotage," as quoted by the Detroit Free Press. He said that he felt strongly that he and his team had most likely been "lied to by someone we trusted."

* Bureau of Elections chief Christopher Thomas had stated that same morning that the bureau had found an "unprecedented level" of obvious fraud in McCotter's campaign documents.

* In order to officially run for re-election, a representative need submit only 1,000 valid signatures to the state.

* McCotter is a five-term U.S. Representative for Michigan. His district, the 11th, was redrawn by state Republicans earlier this year, and now includes Auburn Hills, Birmingham, Livonia, Novi, Plymouth, Wixom, and a number of other cities and townships located just outside of Detroit.

* There is one Republican, Kerry Bentivolio of Milford, who is officially running for McCotter's seat. One of two Democrats, Syed Taj of Canton or Bill Roberts of Redford Township, will be chosen in the primary on Aug. 6 to run as well.

Vanessa Evans is a musician and freelance writer based in Michigan, with a lifelong interest in politics and public issues.

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