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Michigan House Dems call for federal investigation into GOP colleagues

Michigan State Capitol
Michigan State Capitol

Michigan House Democrats called Wednesday for a federal investigation into some of their Republican colleagues for “seditious conspiracy.”

Their resolution claims 11 Republican lawmakers broke the law when they sought to get involved in a lawsuit challenging the results of the 2020 presidential election.

State Rep. Brad Paquette (R-Niles) was among them. He said the calls for a Department of Justice investigation “dangerous incompetence” on the part of Democrats.

“Encouraging the courts to look at constitutional questions is an instrumental aspect of our democratic process, so I was pretty surprised. And I was a teacher of history and the track record of those who use high office to attack political opponents, especially those operating under a distinct democratic process is very disconcerting,” Paquette said Thursday.

State Rep. Joe Tate (D-Detroit) is the resolution’s main sponsor. He said it’s worth trying even if it faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled House.

“We do have another election coming up. We’re still hearing from people that the 2020 election was stolen,” Tate said, “So, I think it’s something that we need to continue to work on and we need to dispel those lies and misinformation.”

Scores of audits and a Republican-led investigation confirmed the results of Michigan's 2020 Presidential election: Democrat Joe Biden won the state by more than 150,000 votes.

Despite that, some Michigan Republicans tried to organize a slate of fake electors to give the state's electoral votes to former President Donald Trump.

In January, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said she had referred evidence against that group of 16 fake electors to the Department of Justice.

The resolution cites reporting that some of the named lawmakers were trying to help those purported electors get into the state Capitol one day in December as the state was certifying its results.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan wouldn’t comment on the status of that investigation or whether it would consider expanding the scope to include lawmakers who may have helped them.

Paquette said no one’s reached out to him as part of an investigation. He said he’s not sure why Democrats introduced their resolution now.

“If people are trying to weaponize the DOJ and use the higher levels to attack political opponents … that’s wrong and it just needs to be called out and I think the American people need to see that,” Paquette said.

But Tate said other forms of rebuke weren’t enough to ensure accountability.

“Yes, it goes beyond a censure, but I think it is warranted for going beyond a censure because how important our democratic institutions are to the fabric of our society and our country.”

Democrats in both the House and the Senate have tried multiple times this legislative session to pass a resolution condemning the effort to overturn the election results. Each has stalled in committee.