Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced this week her office will open a criminal investigation into individuals who questioned the results of the 2020 presidential election to determine whether they financially profited from these claims.
Nessel, a Democrat, is working with the Republican-led state Senate Oversight Committee after the committee published a report refuting election-fraud allegations.
“After reviewing the report in full, the department has accepted … the committee’s request to investigate,” said Lynsey Mukomel, Nessel’s press secretary, in a statement to the Detroit News.
Mukomel added the Michigan State Police will assist in the investigation.
Republican state Sen. Ed McBroom, the chairman of the committee, said the Trump supporters who questioned the integrity of Michigan’s presidential election were not being honest.
“After innumerable hours over many months, watching, listening, and reading both in-person testimony and various other accounts, I am confident in asserting that the results of the November 2020 General Election in Michigan were accurately represented by the certified and audited results,” he said in a statement.
As a result, Nessel should investigate “those who have been utilizing misleading and false information … to raise money or publicity for their own ends,” McBroom and the rest of the committee suggested.
“If you are profiting by making false claims, that’s pretty much the definition of fraud,” McBroom said.
Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson will also assist Nessel’s investigation into the “efforts to deceive Michigan citizens about their vote with misleading, false statements about the accuracy & integrity of our elections.”
One of the leading Republican critics of Michigan’s 2020 presidential election has been Patrick Colbeck, a former Michigan state senator, who has a website where he posts content he says supports his election fraud claims. The website charges users a monthly fee to access the content.
In response to Nessel’s announcement, Colbeck started a petition to censure McBroom and the other Republican senators who encouraged Democrats’ “attempt to marginalize those exposing election fraud.”
Another state Republican challenging the election results is attorney Matthew DePerno, who runs an “Election Fraud Defense Fund” that has raised more than $384,000
DePerno brought a lawsuit against Dominion Voting Systems in Michigan’s Antrim County, where it was discovered that hundreds of votes for former president Donald Trump had been switched to President Joe Biden.
Senate Republicans were “using the mantle of government to proactively intimidate anyone from speaking out about election fraud,” he said.
“These attempts to silence citizens are a clear attempt to criminalize political speech and a violation of the First Amendment right to free speech, freedom to assemble and right to petition the government for a redress of grievances,” he added.