Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) has launched an investigation into Unlock Michigan after the group reached its goal of 500,000 signatures in its effort to repeal a 1945 law Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has been using to keep the state in perpetual lockdown.
The Detroit Free Press reported last week that a petition circulator named Erik Tisinger was recorded during a training session in which he proposed signature-gathering methods that could break the law and offered what to say when one is deposed.
“This can be a real shady job,” Tisinger told a group, according to the paper. “And when I say shady, I mean, people do all sorts of illegal s— all the time and never get caught. It’s really hard to get caught doing s— except for, like, forgeries.”
More via the Free Press:
“You might get deposed,” he said. “You might have to go and do a deposition where, you know, you’re in court and you’re getting grilled by people.”
He then demonstrated how lawyers might direct pointed questions about someone saying they signed the petition at a store and the signature gatherer who signed for the sheet was not present.
“I’ve been deposed and it’s super easy,” Tisinger said. “I’m just like, ‘yeah, I got all the signatures.’” If the attorney then said one of those who signed said she signed the petition in the presence of a man, not a woman, Tisinger said he would reply: “Well, I had my hair down that day and was just freshly shaved.”
Tisinger “was secretly recorded Sept. 4 by a representative of Keep Michigan Safe” — an organization aligned with Whitmer and against Unlock Michigan.
Tisinger appears to have little, if any, professional presence on social media or the Internet.
One “Erik Tisinger” appeared on Facebook, who claimed he works at Reddstar, a California-based band that features an “energetic blend of Rock, Rap, and Anthemic music.” Its first single will be released later this year, titled, “STFU.”
His profile listed his religious views as “atheist.” He did not identify his political views.
Tisinger’s Facebook “check-ins” showed he was in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on August 15 and Waterford Township, Michigan, on August 29.
Unlock Michigan spokesman Fred Wszolek called the whole thing a “set up,” which Keep Michigan Safe denied.
Now, Nessel is investigating Unlock Michigan over Tisinger’s actions.
“Recent media reports have also revealed what appears to be at least one official working for the Unlock Michigan campaign who was training petition circulators and suggested they use deceptive and potentially illegal tactics to gain signatures for the ballot initiative,” the attorney general said in a press release.
Oddly, Nessel Communications Director Kelly Rossman-McKinney posted the Free Press article on Facebook and congratulated her daughter and said she was “so proud” of her “for recognizing this problem.”
Rossman-McKinney denied to Breitbart News that her daughter was the source of the secretly recorded video.
Tisinger was working for In The Field, Inc., which was subcontracted by National Petition Management, a firm hired by Unlock Michigan to assist with organizing signature gatherers.
A message to National Petition Management left by Breitbart News has not been returned.
Wszolek told Breitbart News that any signatures obtained by agents of In The Field, Inc. would be removed from its submission planned for later this week.
The signatures filed by Unlock Michigan will go to Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson for verification. Once — and if — that occurs, the legislature has 45 days to vote to repeal the law. Leaders of both houses have expressed support for the measure.
Unlock Michigan has been collecting signatures to force the legislature to vote on repealing a 1945 law Whitmer has been using to maintain a “state of emergency” first declared in March. That declaration allows her to act unilaterally and bypass the legislature.
Whitmer recently issued her 185th executive order related to the pandemic. A 1976 law allowing the governor to declare a “state of emergency” for 28 days in the event of a natural disaster or catastrophic event would not be affected.
Kyle Olson is a reporter for Breitbart News. He is also host of “The Kyle Olson Show,” syndicated on Michigan radio stations on Saturdays. Listen to segments on YouTube or download full podcast episodes. Follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook, and follow him on Parler.