The Washington Post

Ex-Rep. McCotter accuses former aide of ‘sabotage’

Former congressman Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) is accusing a longtime aide of accepting a bribe in exchange for filing fraudulent petitions for McCotter's reelection campaign.

McCotter, a longshot 2012 presidential candidate, was forced into retirement last year after his ballot petitions were found to be littered with problems.

According to The Detroit News, McCotter has accused the aide, Don Yawchuang, of "deliberate sabotage" of his career.

McCotter leveled the allegations against former aide Don Yowchuang in a complaint filed last month in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Detroit contesting Yowchuang’s personal bankruptcy. The court papers claim Yowchuang’s copy-and-paste petition fraud was “motivated by the promise of financial gain.”

The legal maneuvering marks the first time McCotter has publicly alleged a conspiracy involving someone other than Yowchuang and three other aides convicted in the May 2012 submission of bogus petitions that kept the Livonia Republican off the ballot.

Yowchuang, who now works as a Kia car salesman, and his bankruptcy attorney, John Lange, did not return messages seeking comment.

McCotter, an attorney who now works at the Detroit law firm of Ottenwess Allman & Tanweel PLC, also did not return messages seeking comment.

In the legal complaint, McCotter alleges Yowchuang intentionally submitted fraudulent nominating petitions to generate a cash payment from an unknown source to repay his former fraternity at Central Michigan University more than $20,000 that he allegedly embezzled.

The former congressman’s petition seeks to use the bankruptcy case to extract evidence from Yowchuang’s bank records to prove his bribery theory. It also is an attempt to repair McCotter’s tarnished image, containing new allegations that Yowchuang “intentionally lied” to the congressman and staffers about the status of gathering at least 1,000 valid voter signatures nominating McCotter for a sixth term.

“He definitely wants to be vindicated,” said David Ottenwess, McCotter’s attorney.

While McCotter did not offer evidence suggesting who may have bribed Yowchuang to derail his likely re-election, he notes the Attorney General’s Office initially suspected sabotage.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.

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