News Story

Tea Party Candidate Identity Statements Could Be Invalid

The mysterious Tea Party candidates could face legal challenges because many of the candidates appear to have filled out their affidavits saying they accepted the party nomination before the convention was held, one election expert said.

Of the 20 affidavits reviewed by Michigan Capitol Confidential, all but one was signed before the reported July 24 date of the Tea Party Convention in Saginaw.

The Affidavit of Identity and Receipt of Filing has a section that asks the filer to acknowledge by checking a box that they have "certification of party nomination and certification of acceptance."

Since candidates are nominated at the party convention, a candidate couldn't check that box until after nominated.

And there is a court ruling that found candidates ineligible to be on the ballot because of citing factually inaccurate information on affidavits.

"Based on the Court of Appeals decision, there is a question as to whether these affidavits would be found acceptable," said Peter Ellsworth, an elections expert with the Lansing law firm Dickinson Wright. "In certain cases, the court has said that is enough to disqualify the candidate."

There is a 2000 Court of Appeals of Michigan decision that found a State House of Representative candidate had to be removed from the ballot for putting false information on the Affidavit of Identity. The candidate had listed an address that was not his residence.

According to Michigan election law, a candidate must file the affidavit of candidacy with the Secretary of State within one day of being nominated at the party convention.

Secretary of State Spokeswoman Kelly Chesney said the question about the legitimacy of the affidavits couldn't be answered until the Board of Canvassers finished its inspection of the Tea Party petition signatures.

Earlier this week, a tea party activist discovered a link from the Tea Party political party to the Oakland County Democratic Party.

Traverse City's Jason Gillman, a tea party organizer, discovered that Oakland County Democratic Party "Political Director" Jason H. Bauer had notarized some of the Tea Party candidates' affidavits. Bauer is also registered with the state as a notary.

Gillman discovered the link while going through candidates' paperwork trying to find out more about the little-known Tea Party candidates.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.