Skip to comments.Updated 2:15 a.m.: Former McHenry campaign worker indicted for voter fraud from 2004 election
Posted on 05/12/2007 6:13:57 AM PDT by personalaccts
Updated 2:15 a.m.: Former McHenry campaign worker indicted for voter fraud from 2004 election Kevin Ellis May 11, 2007 - 11:33PM A grassroots organizer in U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenrys 2004 bid for Congress faces a felony election fraud charge.
A Gaston County grand jury indicted Michael Aaron Lay, 26, of Pioneer, Tenn., on May 7.
Lay, who graduated with a law degree from the University of Tennessee on Friday, did not immediately return a phone message left with his father early Saturday.
McHenry dismissed the charge against Lay as a political attack in a statement released by his office Friday night.
McHenry, a Cherryville Republican elected easily to a second term in 2006, describes Lay as a good Christian and law-abiding citizen in the statement.
It's unfortunate that political opponents chose to target this young man in order to attack me, the statement reads. In the end, the facts and the law are on the side of this decent, law-abiding student, and he will be found innocent of this baseless attack.
The indictment charges that Lay illegally cast his ballot in two 2004 congressional primary runoffs in which McHenry was a candidate, according to CBS News.
McHenry, who at the time was the youngest member in Congress, beat out a crowded Republican field to win the 2004 nomination after calling for a primary runoff election.
In the runoff, McHenry beat Catawba County Sheriff David Huffman by 86 votes to win the GOP nomination for the heavily Republican 10th U.S. House District.
The warrant against Lay remains unserved in the Gaston County Clerk of Courts Office, according to the Gaston County Sheriffs Office. The charge alleges Lay voted in a district where it was not legal for him to vote.
Lay worked as a political director and grassroots organizer in the 2004 campaign. Gaston County Board of Elections lists Lay as an active voter in Gaston County, with a Cherryville address on Requa Road, according to the State Board of Election Web site.
McHenry owns the Requa Road property that Lay listed as his address, according to Gaston County tax records.
A spokesman for McHenry said the Cherryville property served at the time as a residence and campaign headquarters.
During the time Lay listed his address in Cherryville for voting purposes his paychecks were sent to an address in Tennessee, CBS News states, citing campaign reports.
According to the CBS News Web site, the North Carolina State Board of Elections investigated the allegation up to two years ago.
The results were forwarded to the previous Gaston County District Attorney Mike Lands, now a District Court judge, according to CBS News.
When Gaston County District Attorney Locke Bell took office in January he pursued the indictment, according to CBS News.
Bell did not return messages left on his cell phone late Friday night and early Saturday morning.
A spokesman for McHenrys political campaign, Jason Deans, called the charge a politically motivated indictment filed by Bell.
This is the culmination of a three-year smear campaign against Congressman McHenry, his campaign workers, and supporters, Dean said in a statement released by McHenry. This case is much like the Duke lacrosse case in that a politically motivated district attorney sought an indictment against a young man without even granting him an interview.
In North Carolina, a district attorney has an option of taking a charge straight to a grand jury. In the grand jury process, the prosecution only presents evidence. The grand jury has the choice of either granting a true bill of indictment or declining to indict.
The issue of Lays voter registration has been discussed online through several blogs.
Those close to McHenry have been sticking by Lay and going on the attack.
This whole episode is nothing more than a shameful political witch hunt that could sully a young man's career, Deans said in the same statement released by McHenrys office. The congressman's political opponents have repeatedly distributed misleading material about these false allegations, almost perfectly synchronized with the questionable actions of the district attorney.
Deans also questioned Bells motives.
The district attorney believes he can destroy an innocent student's career in order to advance his own, Dean stated. The law and the facts of the case will prove otherwise.
The 10th U.S. House District includes northwestern Gaston County, all of Cleveland and Lincoln counties, Catawba County and parts of western North Carolina from Burke County to Mitchell County.
Find Democratic DA's to go after Republican Congressman who they can't beat at the ballot box.
Did he do it?
Did he vote in both precincts? Doesn’t sound like it.
That he had his paychecks mailed to an address other than the one he had listed as his residence means absolutely nothing.
This is low
Rep henry has been one of the few taking on the dembots. Is our side going to cower like schoolgirls or fight back and send messages to the other side?
Often, a Democrat getting an indictment against a Republican IS a partisan ploy. But not this time. There is much more to this, and it is very bad for McHenry.
The DA received this letter a few days ago.
Mr. Locke Bell
325 North Marietta St
Gastonia, NC 28052
District Attorney Locke Bell,
I have heard from others that you are an honest and aggressive District Attorney who is not easily intimidated or influenced. I know that you have a difficult job and I do not want to add to that difficulty. However, violations of our laws have been committed in your county and swept under the rug by others in the past.
The enclosed material is for your review. It outlines the truthful residence of Michael A. Lay as Tennessee when he registered illegally and voted illegally in Gaston County in 2004. Chapter 163 states that the District Attorney shall investigate and has the power to subpoena for his investigations.
Chapter 163 also states that it is a class I felony to make a false statement about residency on your voter registration. It states that it is a felony to vote illegally. It states that it is a felony to procure the illegal registration of another.
There were six people who registered at one house in Cherryville in order to vote. One of them, Michael Lay, has since paid money to the University of Tennessee in order to cover up his illegal conduct. Did the others ever get a license, file their taxes, register their vehicles, have a rental contract, install a phone, get their mail at this residence?
The Board of Elections has a duty to hand over to your office the results of their investigation. It is not up to them to make the decision whether to prosecute. You also have the ability to call the SBI (according to Chapter 163) to aid you in your investigation.
No one should be above the law and many citizens are tired of watching a small group act as if they are above the law. Please, if you cannot investigate this because of political reasons do not bury it, rather send it to another prosecutor who can bring the truth to light.
All this is found at Young's website: http://www.donnieyoung2008.com/
Great—that’s all the Dims need—more raw meat.
Here is a link to all the info sent to CBS:
I have not heard any of those stories, but I will say that I did not support McHenry in the primary (I supported Sheriff Huffman) and never trusted him.
I'm always skeptical of people who have never held a private sector job. Then I heard that McHenry was presenting himself as a businessman with a record of job creation, when in fact he'd just gotten his realtor's license a few months prior (his business) and there was no evidence he'd ever sold a property, much less hired anyone.
Again, I haven't heard about any illegal activity, and I do not want to trash him unjustly, but it would not surprise me -- he is, after all, a careerist politician.
I was posting and article. It looks like you may challenge Mchenry in ‘08. Good luck. I still can’t believe the guy got elected. No one went after his resume. Worked at the labor dept (how long?). Owned a real estate company (how many houses has he sold (if any). It was a razor thin margin race and people haven’t gotten over it. In fact a Cleveland County republican couldn’t believe Patrick put so much into the Hickory mayors race (you can’t piss people off on the local level). His arrogance will beat him. It’ll take someone with alot of $$$$. Patrick is and incumbent (i.e. mobster can get $$$). Good day. Thanks for the information you provided. Sometimes I post things just so the poor Shelby Star will get some hits.