Michigan fake GOP Electoral College delegates subpoenaed by Jan. 6 committee

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The U.S. House Committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol subpoenaed two Michigan Republicans Friday who tried to overturn Michigan's election results and award the state's Electoral College votes to former President Donald Trump.

Kathy Berden and Mayra Rodriguez – the latest targets of the committee's wide-ranging probe – joined 14 other Michigan Republicans in signing a fake certificate that falsely claimed they were legitimate delegates to the Electoral College. That certificate was sent to the Michigan Secretary of State, National Archives, the office of former Vice President Mike Pence and the chief judge for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan.

"We believe the individuals we have subpoenaed today have information about how these so-called alternate electors met and who was behind that scheme. We encourage them to cooperate with the Select Committee’s investigation to get answers about January 6th for the American people and help ensure nothing like that day ever happens again," said Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi, in a news release.

Joe Biden won Michigan by more than 154,000 votes. Hundreds of audits affirmed his victory in the state and courts rejected lawsuits attempting to challenge the election using conspiracy and conjecture.

Yet, 16 Michigan Republicans attempted to thwart the will of voters and keep Trump in office by sending in a fake certificate that falsely claimed he won the state's electoral votes.

The false certificate, from Berden, identifies her as the "chairperson" of the group and Rodriguez as the group's "secretary."

Berden currently serves as Michigan's national committeewoman for the Republican National Committee and Rodriguez is listed as the state committee chair for Grosse Pointe Farms in the 14th Congressional District Republican Party. Rodriguez also unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the state Legislature in 2020.

Berden did not immediately respond to messages left by the Free Press. Reached by phone Friday afternoon, Rodriguez declined to comment.

Both received very similar requests for cooperation, according to documents posted Friday by the congressional committee. Both are asked to provide documents and a deposition.

"The Select Committee seeks information from you on a narrow range of issues. We have sincere respect for your privacy, and we are not seeking information about your political views or your efforts in the 2020 presidential campaign more generally," both letters state.

"Rather, we are seeking information about your role and participation in the purported slate of electors casting votes for Donald Trump and, to the extent relevant, your role in the events of January 6, 2021."

The subpoenas ask the two to appear for separate depositions on Feb. 22.

Michigan Republican Party Co-Chair Meshawn Maddock recently said that the Trump presidential campaign directed Republicans in Michigan to seat fake GOP Electoral College delegates, according to audio obtained by CNN.

More: Michigan GOP co-chair says Trump campaign directed fake electors, per CNN audio

More: Nessel: Fake GOP electors committed crimes, hopes feds prosecute 'conspiracy'

Attorney General Dana Nessel has referred the failed effort to overturn the election to federal prosecutors for possible criminal charges. Michigan was one of several states that saw Republicans from battleground states similarly attempt to hand the election to Trump by falsely claiming they were their states' presidential electors. Officials in other states have also requested an investigation by the Department of Justice.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco confirmed federal prosecutors are reviewing the fake certifications in an interview with CNN this week.

"We've received those referrals. Our prosecutors are looking at those and I can't say anything more on ongoing investigations," Monaco said.

Nessel has repeatedly said she believes she has enough evidence to charge the Republicans with election fraud, but believes federal prosecutors are in a better position to investigate the allegations.

"Our department still has an open investigation and we will continue to cooperate with the federal authorities as we pursue parallel efforts," a Nessel spokeswoman told the Free Press.

Clara Hendrickson fact-checks Michigan issues and politics as a corps member with Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project. Make a tax-deductible contribution to support her work at bit.ly/freepRFA. Contact her at chendrickson@freepress.com or 313-296-5743. Follow her on Twitter @clarajanehen.

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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan fake GOP delegates subpoenaed by Jan. 6 committee

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