Michigan House Democratic leader wants investigation into party-switching candidate

Rep. Roy Schmidt accused of switching to Republican at last minute in race for 76th District

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DETROIT - Michigan House Democratic leader Richard Hammel, D-Mount Morris Township, is calling for a investigation by a reform and ethics committee into the plan behind state Rep. Roy Schmidt's switch from Democrat to run as a Republican.

What happened

Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth said in a report Tuesday that no charges will be filed, although the "scheme" was "clearly designed to undermine the election."

"Incredibly, while it would be illegal to pay a boxer to take a ‘dive' or a basketball player to ‘point shave," it is not currently a crime in Michigan to recruit someone to run for public office, place them on a ballot at the ‘eleventh hour' and essentially pay them to make no effort to win," Forsyth wrote in his conclusion.

Forsyth says 22-year-old Matthew Mojak was persuaded by the Grand Rapids lawmaker to file as a Democrat in the upcoming 76th District race.

Democrats were angered because Schmidt waited until just before May's filing deadline to announce his switch, thus guaranteeing re-election by avoiding a primary fight.

"What they did was unethical. There must be a full investigation into the collusion between Bolger and Schmidt to determine which House rules were broken, to uncover violations of ethics and misconduct and to determine whether taxpayer money was misused in this scheme. We must act to prevent further acts of corruption and abuses of power like this in the future," Hammel said in a statement Wednesday.

Schmidt has said he switched parties because of "extreme Democratic Party bosses" like party chairman Mark Brewer.

Schmidt was elected in 2008 and can serve one more House term.




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