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Cox Charges Reps. Cushingberry & Lemmons with Violations of State Election & Campaign Finance Laws

Contact: Allison Pierce, Media Contact 517-373-8060
Agency: Attorney General

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August 9, 2005

            LANSING – Attorney General Mike Cox announced today that he is charging Rep. George C. Cushingberry, Jr. (D-Detroit) with two counts of Felony Perjury and one count of Misdemeanor Failure to File 2 or More Campaign Statements, and Rep. LaMar Lemmons III (D-Detroit) with one count of Misdemeanor Failure to File 2 or More Campaign Statements. The charges conclude a five-month Attorney General investigation into the representatives’ alleged noncompliance with Michigan’s Campaign Finance Act and Election Law during the 2004 election.

            “Our election and campaign finance laws are premised on public disclosure and citizens have a right to trust their public officials,” said Cox. “Public officials have an obligation to earn that trust by being forthright and honest.”

            The charges against Reps. Cushingberry and Lemmons arose out of their respective campaigns for the Michigan House of Representatives during the November 2004 elections. On March 15, 2005, the Michigan Secretary of State referred both cases to the Attorney General for criminal prosecution. An exhaustive five-month investigation by the Attorney General’s office involving numerous interviews and the review of hundreds of pages of documents followed.

            That investigation revealed allegations that Rep. Cushingberry committed perjury twice by making false statements in a May 7, 2004 affidavit of identity, as well as in a post-election statement in January of 2005.

            The investigation also uncovered allegations that Rep. Cushingberry failed to file campaign finance reports despite receiving 21 notices from the Secretary of State, Bureau of Elections, and three notices from the Attorney General’s Public Employment, Elections & Tort Division.

            Rep. Cushingberry will be charged with one count of Election Law Perjury – False Statement in Post Election Statement, and one count of Election Law Perjury – False Statement in Affidavit of Identity. Both charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or a $1,000 fine. He also faces one count of misdemeanor Failure to File 2 or More Campaign Statements, which carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

            The Attorney General’s investigation alleged that Rep. Lemmons failed to timely file four documents required by the Michigan Campaign Finance Act despite receiving 19 notices from the Secretary of State and five notices from the Attorney General. The four documents included: a 2004 Annual Campaign Statement, a 2004 Post Primary Campaign Statement, a 2004 Pre General Campaign Statement, and a 2004 Post General Statement.

            Rep. Lemmons will be charged with one count of Campaign Finance – Failure to File 2 or More Campaign Statements. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

            The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. 

            The cases are the latest assigned to the Attorney General’s Office of Special Investigations, formed by Cox in 2003 to investigate and prosecute public corruption cases and cold case homicides. The unit has conducted more than 50 public corruption investigations, has secured the conviction of former Oakland Intermediate School District Superintendent James Redmond for misconduct in office, and convicted serial killers Coral Watts and John Rodney McRae.

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