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Election a factor in lawmaker probe

August 22, 2012
Associated Press

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) - A prosecutor said he ended an investigation of a Democratic lawmaker's last-minute switch to the Republican Party because he wanted the public to know some details before the August primary election.

A state police detective wanted to get the phone records of House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, and Rep. Roy Schmidt, R-Grand Rapids, the Detroit Free Press reported Monday. But Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth said the request, with a search warrant, likely would have taken weeks or months to fulfill.

In July, Forsyth announced that Bolger and Schmidt broke no laws in Schmidt's switch to the GOP but said their actions were a fraud on the public.

Bolger was aware that Schmidt would file for re-election as a Republican and recruit someone to be a nominal Democratic opponent. The opponent turned out to be Matt Mojzak, a 22-year-old friend of Schmidt's son.

The state police wanted phone records to try to determine if Bolger and Schmidt knew that Mojzak didn't live in the district when he signed his candidacy papers. Forsyth stopped it.

"I didn't think I could sit on this until September or October without this coming out," Forsyth, a Republican, told The Detroit News. "By not putting it out there, I would be influencing the election as well."

Bing Goei ran against Schmidt as a write-in candidate after Forsyth's report was released. Schmidt won the Aug. 7 Republican primary by only 423 votes, likely benefiting from absentee ballots that were cast before the controversy became public.

 
 

 

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