Clerk finds fake filings in race
August 25, 2010 - Aaron Tyler is signed up to run for Oakland County Commission District 2 as a Tea Party candidate and resident of Springfield Township.
The problems: the signature isn't his, he's not with the Tea Party, and he doesn't live in Springfield Township.
"He was in Arizona for a teaching job when he allegedly signed the document," said county Clerk Ruth Johnson.
The clerk's office uncovered the apparent fraud when checking up on a $30 late fee. Joe Rozell, director of elections, said Tyler told him he had no idea what they were talking about and he had never filed paperwork to run for office.
Tyler's signature on the candidate paperwork, which was notarized and submitted this past July, does not match his signature on file in the State's Qualified Voter File, Johnson said.
"Never in my recollection was something like this happened before – a notary's job is to make sure a person is who they say they are," she said.
The notary, Jason Bauer, was a member of the Oakland County Democratic Party.
"Upon first learning of allegations against one of the organization's staff members, the county party's Executive Board immediately called for a meeting, which was held today (Aug. 22)," according to a board statement. "The board swiftly acted to request and accept Jason Bauer's resignation from employment. We are saddened by this situation, but cannot condone his alleged actions."
Johnson is investigating eight "Tea Party" candidates whose paperwork was notarized by Bauer.
"This is serious – it's truly un-American," she said.
She called for an Elections Crimes Unit to investigate these kinds of allegations.
"We must ensure integrity in our elections," she said.
Documents were turned over to the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office and she will hand-deliver the documents to the Michigan Attorney General's Office for investigation.
Tyler did not return a call to his cell phone. Efforts to contact Independence Tea Party Patriots and Oakland County Democratic Party were also unsuccessful.
Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.