Griffie files challenge in bid to oust Hollier from primary ballot

Lawyers for Democrat Michael Griffie moved on Friday to block State Senator Adam Hollier of Detroit’s certification as a congressional candidate and bar him from participating in the Aug. 2 Democratic primary ballot.

Griffie and Hollier are vying for the United States House in a crowded field of 11 Democrats seeking the open seat representing the new 13th District, which includes most of Detroit, Grosse Pointe and downstream communities.

The letter alleges that Hollier – who is leading fundraising for the primary contest – filed a false affidavit of identity stating that he had no outstanding campaign finance issues.

The letter points to the Hollier State Senate Campaign Committee and argues that it had outstanding amendments to disclosure reports that were due but not filed at the time he submitted his identity affidavit earlier. this month.

The letter cites questions raised by state election officials about gas and travel expenses listed in an October 2019 quarterly report, seeking the number of miles traveled for each expense.

While Hollier’s campaign this month filed a related travel log with the Michigan Office of Elections, it would never have changed the actual campaign statement to reflect that, according to Griffie’s letter.

“Because Senator Hollier’s committee did not file this required amended report, Senator Hollier’s attestation that ‘all statements, reports, late filing fees and fines’ due to him or his nominee committee were filed or paid on the date of the affidavit of identity, was false,” Griffie’s attorney Chris Trebilcock wrote.

Griffie’s campaign is asking Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett not to certify Hollier as a candidate in the August primary or November general election due to his allegedly flawed affidavit and to bar him from voting.

“I think it’s important for the public to know whether or not candidates seeking federal office are complying with Michigan’s campaign finance law,” Griffie told the Detroit News. “Trust in our electoral process is one of the most sacred things we hold.”

Hollier’s campaign did not immediately comment on the allegations Friday.

The relevant state law states that the affidavit of identity filed by applicants must include a “signed and notarized” statement that the applicant has complied with “all statements, reports, late filing fees and fines levied against the candidate or any committee of candidates organized to support the candidate’s election under Michigan’s campaign finance law.”

It is not clear under the law whether an omission of error would constitute an unclassified report.

On the affidavit, the relevant part The section includes an acknowledgment that making a false statement as part of the affidavit is considered perjury, which is a felony and could result in disqualification from the ballot. Hollier signed the document on April 15, according to a copy filed with the challenge.

Michael Griffie

Next, Garrett will decide whether to certify Hollier as a candidate — a decision Hollier or Griffie could appeal in Wayne County Circuit Court or to Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s office if they’re not satisfied.

Other candidates have been kicked out of the ballot after similar challenges over pending campaign finance issues, including former Pontiac mayor Deidre Waterman last year and, more recently, Michigan House candidate Mellissa Carone.

In Carone’s case, she signed her affidavit at a time when she had outstanding late filing fees of $50 and $75 and had been notified that her campaign had not filed its year-end disclosure report. on fundraising.

Macomb County Clerk Anthony Forlini said state law prevents him from certifying the name of a candidate for the Board of Election Commissioners if the candidate “executes an affidavit of identity containing a false statement.” .

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Writer Craig Mauger contributed.

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