Attorney General Dana Nessel opens investigation into Unlock Michigan

Published: Sep. 28, 2020 at 1:51 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has opened an investigation into the group known as “Unlock Michigan.” The investigation follows allegations that members associated with the group may have engaged in criminal activity to collect petition signatures to repeal state law.

According to officials at The Attorney General’s office they received complaints from residents who report they were deceived by petition circulators. Those circulators were allegedy gathering signatures to support the efforts of Unlock Michigan, a group trying to repeal the 1945 Emergency Powers of the Governor Act.

Residents said they were told the petitions were to support LGBTQ rights, for medical marijuana initiatives or to help small businesses, among other things.

“Our democracy is firmly rooted in the principles of an informed electorate which makes decisions at the polls based on reason and beliefs over lies and deception,” Nessel said. “Our ballot initiative process allows efforts with strong public support to be presented to the Legislature. But that process becomes tainted when petition circulators manipulate and cheat to serve their own agendas. My office will investigate these allegations, and if there is a violation of law, we will prosecute those responsible.”

Fred Wszolek, a spokesman from Unlock Michigan, said in a statement, “It’s a partisan political farce, which is to be expected from this partisan political Attorney General. This sham investigation is designed to deprive Michigan citizens of their constitutional right to initiate legislation, but we’re not going to allow that to happen.”

Any potential charges that may be filed against Unlock Michigan and its members will depend on whether criminal activity took place, as well as the evidence compiled by the Attorney General’s office in its investigation.

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