By Suzanne Williams, MFE writer Aug. 2, 2023
Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said, "In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way." So, what is Michigan AG Dana Nessel's plan behind her indictments of 16 alternate Presidential Electors, especially considering that these Republican electors were presented to the public two-and-a-half years ago. Some appear to have testified last year before a grand jury in Washington DC and were not charged.
The timing of Attorney General Dana Nessel's move suggests coordination with the Biden White House and the DOJ’s target letter and indictment of former President Donald Trump. Plus, the seriousness of the charges comes across as patently political, even sadistic. (See MFE’s Should AG Nessel Charge Trump Electors with Felonies? You Be the Judge).
Nevertheless, AG Nessel recently stated that every one of them knew what they were doing was wrong.” On what basis could she make that judgment?
At the time that these citizen volunteers signed on to become alternate electors, an open question existed as to whether an alternate slate could be submitted. The question existed in large part due to the 1960 presidential election. John Kennedy, a candidate for president at the time, had submitted an alternate elector slate for Hawaii, and that slate was ultimately accepted after a ballot recount.
The selection of an alternate slate of electors was such an open question after the 2020 election that Congress felt the need to adopt the Electoral Count Reform Act in December 2022. In addition to stating that the vice president’s role in presenting electors is ceremonial, the ECRA requires that 20% of the legislature must object to the slate of electors instead of just one from each chamber.
Apparently, AG Nessel considers some crimes more deserving of punishment than others. She stated in her media release about indicting the 16 electors, “where there is overwhelming evidence of guilt in respect to multiple crimes, the most political act I could engage in as a prosecutor would be to take no action at all.”
After campaigning on the issue of the Flint water crisis and claiming that an abundance of evidence existed to hold individuals responsible for the unhealthy water in Flint, Nessel has scrapped the entire investigation. According to an April 23, 2023, article in the Detroit MetroTimes,
Nessel, who all-but condemned the aforementioned investigation as a candidate for Attorney General AG — attacking Flood and criticizing what she perceived as the investigation’s lack of results — entered office in 2019 and cleaned house. She fired Flood, chief investigator and former Detroit FBI chief Andy Arena, and most of the original team of prosecutors and investigators. She claimed, with little evidence, that the exiled team had fumbled the ball, failing to secure millions of key documents while messing up procedural steps that would ultimately jeopardize conviction. Nessel appointed her Solicitor General Fadwah Hammoud, and Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy to essentially re-start the entire investigation from scratch.
Four years later, Nessel’s team has all-but lit the investigation, and any possible justice for Flint, on fire. Rather than getting into the long, thorny weeds, here is the gist of the disastrous second investigation launched by Nessel and her accolades.
Where was the AG's righteous indignation and legal action when Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson mailed absentee ballots indiscriminately? Where was she when the courts found her guilt of violating signature verification laws? Nessel and her 250 assistant attorneys general must have missed that the courts found Benson guilty of violating election law when she required election officials to stand six feet away during the election? In all, the courts have found SOS Benson guilty of five (5) serious legal violations:
Source: Patrick Colbeck, Grassroots Alliance
When the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) found that the Bureau of Elections DID NOT perform periodic reconciliation between the driver’s license file and QVF, AG Nessel took no action. The same non-action occurred after the OAG identified discrepancies in addresses and death status that, if identified and corrected, could help decrease the risk of ineligible electors voting in Michigan. (See OAG Performance Report,
On a non-election-related matter, what serious actions has the AG’s office taken against human traffickers?
The crux of the problem
Partiality in administering justice demoralizes the public. More importantly, a society cannot flourish when law is applied unequally and used as a weapon against political targets. If half a state’s population feels it cannot speak freely or donate to a legal defense without recrimination--when lawyers are threatened with losing their licenses to practice law for merely defending a tyrant's political opponents--These intimidation tactics have a chilling effect on a free society.
Is this the intent?
Jordan Boyd wrote in The Federalist:
The radically different treatment Republicans receive when contesting poorly administered elections intensified this week when Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel charged 16 Republican electors in her state for participating in what she deemed a “false electors scheme.” Defendants, all 55 years or older, each face eight various conspiracy and forgery felony counts that carry a sentence of five to 14 years in prison each.
--As Michigan Charges Trump Electors With Felonies, Recall How Leftists Everywhere Urged 2016 Electors To Defect To Hillary, The Federalist, July 19, 2023.
Current Leftist style criminal policy is soft on hardened criminals but hard on our neighbors, fellow citizens, and apparently, alternate electors. Some Americans have been denied due process and held months or years in jail in Washington DC. Some are charged with non-offenses, like entering the Capitol.
Democrats and Republicans are supposed to behave as political opponents, not barbarian warring enemies. The rule of law under a U.S. Constitution, combined with the three branches government restrained by a system of checks and balances, is supposed to keep a government from trampling on people’s rights. What happens when the highest-ranking attorney in the state chooses to administer justice based on political bias?
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