Ex-Oakland County Democratic Party officials charged

By: Jeremy Carroll | Online Only | Published March 16, 2011

             Jason Bauer

        Michael McGuinness

The former head of the Oakland County Democratic Party and an ex-employee of the organization were arraigned on felony charges after a one-man grand jury indicted them on charges, county officials said.

Michael McGuinness, former chairman of the Oakland County Democratic Party, and Jason Bauer, who worked for the organization as a political director, were arraigned in Oakland County Circuit Court March 16. Both were given a $25,000 personal bond, Undersheriff Michael McCabe said.

County Executive L. Brooks Patterson asked for a one-man grand jury after Clerk Ruth Johnson discovered possible fraud involved in the filing of candidates for various positions last fall under the “tea party” political party.

One of the candidates, Aaron William Tyler, told Johnson last fall that he did not sign the candidate affidavit. Two other candidates’ supposed signatures did not match their voter registration cards.

Bauer had notarized the signatures of the candidates. He resigned from his position, as did McGuinness.

Sheriff Michael Bouchard said the warrant includes three charges of uttering and publishing and three charges of perjury from election law fraud for both Bauer and McGuinness, as well as three charges of notary violations for Bauer.

The most serious of the charges, uttering and publishing of forged records, carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.

“People have to know the election process is tamper-proof,” Bouchard said.

He said the grand jury is still seated and the investigation is still open.

“It’s a serious matter anytime someone tries to subvert the political process,” Patterson said in a statement. “I’m gratified that the rule of law prevails.”

Of the eight tea party candidates to file for office in Oakland County for last November’s election, Bouchard said four of them were faked. None of the eight ended up on the ballot.

No attorney information was listed for either Bauer or McGuinness, and neither could be immediately contacted.