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Second Defendant Pleads No Contest In Oakland County Fake Tea Party Case

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The Huffington Post   First Posted: 11/21/11 05:08 PM ET Updated: 11/21/11 05:08 PM ET

A former Oakland County Democratic official pleaded no contest to a series of charges related to an attempt to create a phony Tea Party in the 2010 elections.

The move, had it been successful, could have split the the conservative vote on the state ballot. Instead, the two Democratic party operatives involved in the scheme are facing jail time.

Jason Bauer, 31, a former Democratic political director along with Jack McGuinness, 27, the party's county chairman, faced charges of perjury and forgery, the Free Press reports. McGuinness pleaded no contest last month.

Michael Dezsi, Bauer’s attorney, had asked the case's judge to recuse himself because of his prior Republican campaign work. Oakland County Circuit Judge James Alexander refused, saying 17 years had passed since he involved himself with partisan politics.

"The matter was investigated by a Republican sheriff and is being prosecuted by a Democratic county prosecutor," Alexander said. "The indictment was issued by a nonpartisan grand jury."

"The defendant is not charged with being a member of a particular political party," he went on to say. "The defendant is charged with attempting to subvert the political process."

According to Fox 2, Sherriff Michael Bouchard said that the Bauer and McGuinness added candidates' names to the fake slate without even consulting many of them.

"Some of the people didn't even know they were on the ballot till they began receiving delinquency notices of filings that were required as a candidate," Bouchard said.

He said the prosecutor's investigation involved 23 statewide races and linked them to a party leader in Lansing.

None of the bogus candidates ended up on last November's ballot, according to a C & G News report citing Bouchard.

Bauer and McGuinness could spend up to 14 years in prison on the forgery conviction, but are expected to receive less time, the Free Press reports.

Bauer's sentencing is scheduled for January.

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