McHenry staffer/roomie pleas to vote fraud

laysmile1.jpgThis morning at the Gaston County Courthouse, Patrick McHenry former staffer, aide, and roomie Michael Aaron Lay took a "deferred prosecution deal."

Which amounts to six months unsupervised probation, during which time he must complete 100 hours of community service, $240.50 in court costs and a $250.00 community service fee, for a grand total of $440.50.

If Lay does all that, District Attorney Locke Bell says he will voluntarily dismiss the charges.

I need some help here. If you take a deal and the charges are dropped, does that mean legally it didn't happen? So did he commit voter fraud or is this a Spiro Agnew nolo contendere-type thing?


[For more on Michael Aaron Lay's voter fraud case with its ties to Patrick McHenry as both roommate and staffer look here and here and here and here and here.

Thanks to Jerimee and anonymous for the heads up and the photos. Crossposted everywhere.]

Edited for fp by gf


This is outrageous

I'm no lawyer...but to me, deferred prosecution means he isn't prosecuted, meaning no charges, no guilty/no contest plea, no conviction, and no sentence.

I thought when someone committed a crime, they at the very least got charged for it.

It was a techical foul! Don't worry Republicans!

I thought when someone committed a crime, they at the very least got charged for it.* Jake

Right! In the present state of mind of Republicans! This crime never occure and thus no foul or harm as they say in the NBA. Of course it appears that the Republican DA is taking a page out the NBA refrees manual and making sure the fix was in with the Right team.

DA Bell will be known as the "Republican Nifong" in this state with his low profile foul.

Wait a minute

He committed 2 felonies and walks away with a $440 fine? Getting a speeding ticket can cost you more than that.

Republicans sure do spend a lot of time whining about voter fraud when the only documented cases of fraud are being committed by Republicans. And not just any Republican, but a member of a candidate's campaign staff and future lawyer. He should have known better - and should have received a real punishment.

The unsupervised probation

has to do with that he works in Raleigh. He shouldn't get in any trouble there, don't you think? No temptations. No fellow criminals . . .

My "teaser" should have read "Why is this man smiling?"
News of the 10th district: See Pat Go Bye Bye,

The unsupervised probation...

may have something to do with the fact that he is on the Bill Graham for Governor campaign staff, though I hope not.

And there are several ironies to this story and his work...

with Graham's campaign. First, he is in charge of the summer college student workers- who live in apartments rented by Graham. Second, of all that I have spoken with (20+), only two were from North Carolina. The rest were from out of state.

So- he is watching over student living in residences paid for by the candidate and in district which they cannot vote in.

He likely will not learn.

campaign workers often register in the city they are working in

A political hack friend of mine said its customary for campaign workers to register in the town that they will be working (and living) in.

Did this guy vote in two different locations?

Often when a person moves to another state, they don't contact the previous state
to notify them to change voter rolls accordingly.

All I am saying is this - the real target here is Patrick McHenry, and probably you will find this type of registration issue in Democratic campaign workers too.

If the guy voted in two different states during same time period, then thats a horse of another color.

I would rather see people beat up on the real target of their anger.

We need to get a good candidate in Pattie's district and then our state won't have to be embarassed each time Pattie gets on CSpan and acts like an 8 year old.

I don't think it's customary.

It's against the law and the investigation and charges were instigated by Republicans. North Carolina law doesn't allow you to register if you are not intending to live there permanently.....or semi permanently. Campaign work is like a temp job. Lay knew he was going back to law school. It wasn't just that he was registered in two places, he was charged b/c he registered when he apparently had no intention of living in the area beyond the election.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

There one person in the shadows behind all of this.

I keep wanting to say that it's Dee Snyder, but he's the guy from Twisted Sister, although when you think about the name, that might apply! A googly search reminded me that it's Dee Stewart. He runs an operation called "The Stewart Group"

Here's an interesting tidbit that turned up when I reviewed the googly goodness. I found it on the NC Conservative, which has been all over McHenry's ass (so to speak). The lawyer that represented Lay was Thom Goolsby, who entertained a run for the office of Attorney General in 2004. You can see his campaign filing here.If you took the time to go through the reports, you might find that Goolsby paid The Stewart Group $133,000 to help him get elected. Fortunately for North Carolina, they were not successful. But here is Goolsby, helping an associate of The Stewart Group, Lay, get a sweetheart of a deal on a voter fraud case. The Stewart Group is involved in at least one other voter fraud case that I know of - here in Moore County, the DA's office is reportedly investigating the Joe Boylan Campaign for the same thing - campaign workers who were living here temporarily, in apartments paid for by the campaign, registered to vote in the primary illegally. Uncle Creepy Joe tells us that it was an innocent mistake, but given the pattern that's being established here, it doesn't seem so innocent.

When is Dee Stewart going to take responsibility for not training his associates properly?

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

I've heard Dee Stewart and McHenry

are business partners of some kind. Stewart is kind of hard to find on the internet. But it's looking like this voter fraud thing might be a pattern. Maybe a mini-version of the Rovian tactics used nation-wide????

This is what I wrote about Stewart the night before the voter fraud indictment became public

A Raleigh-based Dee Stewart has a listing on the with the American Association for Political Consultants that links to a "coming soon" website titled The Stewart Group, Inc. There was a Douglas F. Stewart III who worked for McHenry's first campaign and staff. According to Legistorm, he was paid $25,422.23 for the first three months of 2005 as McHenry's chief of staff. Also, Douglas F. Stewart III registered in Raleigh as a Republican in March, 2001.

News of the 10th district: See Pat Go Bye Bye,

College students and voting

I'm just going by what some people who work on political campaigns have told me about campaign workers who move to a location and live there.

From the Duke University Library website:

All About Voting: What You Need to Know

I'm an out-of-state student. Where should I vote?

Deciding where to vote is a very personal choice. If there is a candidate or issue in your home state of particular importance to you, you might opt to register to vote and obtain an absentee ballot in your home state. Also, if your home state is considered a "swing state," you might think about registering to vote in your home state by absentee ballot. To apply for an absentee ballot for your state, check with your State Secretary. In most cases, the absentee ballot is sent to you by mail, and you must get the ballot back to your Board of Elections before Election Day. Requirements vary from state to state, and some states require you to sign an affidavit and send a copy of your driver's license or other ID with your absentee ballot.

On the other hand, if you have lived in North Carolina for at least 30 days before the election, you are eligible to register to vote in North Carolina. Polling locations in Durham are within walking distance of East Campus and near West Campus, Central Campus, and the Duke Medical Center on Election Day from 6:30am to 7:30pm. You can also take advantage of One-Stop No Excuse Absentee Voting from October 19-November 4, at the Durham Board of Elections, 706 W. Corporation St. (off N. Duke St., near West Village Lofts and Brightleaf Square).

True or False? -- I can't register to vote in Durham because Duke students aren't permanent residents.

FALSE. The only requirement in North Carolina is that you must live in the county where you register to vote at least 30 days prior to the election. So, if you moved into your dorm or apartment before October 7, 2006, you can vote in Durham, if you choose. Many people believe that college students cannot register to vote where they go to school, but this is not true. ...

there's a small wrinkle here

The law says that anyone can vote at school ... as long as they're not planning to move back to their place of permanent residence in their home state, they're allowed to vote and register here. Oh, and they have to be, like, a U.S. Citizen or something.

1 Thessalonians 5:21: But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

I wouldn't exactly turn to Duke U. to get the facts straight :)

The Duke student handbook????? That isn't a great place to find NC election law. It's long, but pretty easy to understand. College students are accounted for in state law. From the SBOE site:

(Changes effective January 1, 2007)
§ 163-57. Residence defined for registration and voting. All election officials in determining the residence of a person offering to register or vote, shall be governed by the following rules, so far as they may apply:

(1) That place shall be considered the residence of a person in which that person's habitation is fixed, and to which, whenever that person is absent, that person has the intention of returning.

a. In the event that a person's habitation is divided by a State, county, municipal, precinct, ward, or other election district, then the location of the bedroom or usual sleeping area for that person with respect to the location of the boundary line at issue shall be controlling as the residency of that person.


(3) A person shall not be considered to have gained a residence in any county, municipality, precinct, ward, or other election district of this State, into which that person comes for temporary purposes only, without the intention of making that county, municipality, precinct, ward, or other election district a permanent place of abode.


(11)So long as a student intends to make the student's home in the community where the student is physically present for the purpose of attending school while the student is attending school and has no intent to return to the student's former home after graduation, the student may claim the college
community as the student's domicile. The student need not also intend to stay in the college community beyond graduation in order to establish domicile there. This subdivision is intended to codify the case law.

I think those are probably the most important that apply for this discussion, but if you follow the link, this starts on page 49. Oh...the link is a PDF.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I have talked to several campaign staffers

who registered to vote in the districts they expected to be living in. They are cringing but, when asked, they say they intended to stay and work in the districts they registered in or work in DC for that district. They certainly wouldn't have gone back home after winning.

That's the key, do you expect to stay. I'm having menopausal memory lapses but I believe he didn't even stay for the general election. He never changed his car registration and he kept his in-state UT tuition. He obviously never intended to stay. If he'd left because McHenry had lost, he might not have been prosecuted.

AND I see absolutely no evidence that he's being prosecuted to get at McHenry. That may be true but the facts are that this prosecution was delayed by over two years. Both the current and the former DA (who did nothing with it) are donors to McHenry's campaign.

I've seen letters from people complaining to the state BOE who basically ignored the case, even though they are dominated by Democrats. This story had circulated in the district since that July election day and no influential democrat ever pursued it to my knowledge (I know because I kept getting complaints from anti-McHenry Republicans!)
News of the 10th district: See Pat Go Bye Bye,

FYI facts about the case

Here's a timeline from the May 19th Charlotte Observer who did some good research I hadn't seen elsewhere:

A look at Lay's steps during late 2003 and 2004.

December 2003: Lay applies to three law schools, including the University of Tennessee.

February 2004: Lay moves to Cherryville and notifies University of Tennessee of Cherryville address.

March 31, 2004: Law school acceptance sent to his Cherryville address.

April 15, 2004: Lay accepts offer to University of Tennessee law school but says he's still waiting to hear from other schools.

May 31, 2004: Lay registers to vote in Gaston County.

July 20, 2004: Lay votes in the Republican primary in Gaston County.

Aug. 17, 2004: Lay votes in second Republican primary in Gaston County.

Aug. 18, 2004: Fall courses at University of Tennessee begin, according to the school's registrar's office.

Oct. 1, 2004: Lay registers to vote in Knox County, Tenn.

News of the 10th district: See Pat Go Bye Bye,

Lay's out of a pickle

Lay's Dill Pickle              0g trans fat

Betcha Can't Eat Just One

Oh Greg.


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi



I wonder if he voted in TN too

I wonder if he also cast an absentee ballot in TN in the 2004 election? Has anyone checked?

Lay could have his record expunged?

Someone told me they asked around and got this answer.

So, next time I commit a felony, can I have a Lay or Libby deal?

Any other legal types out there know anything about this?
News of the 10th district: See Pat Go Bye Bye,

Yes to guilty but he can sit for the bar in Feb?

That's what the Hickory Record is reporting:

HICKORY -- A former campaign worker of U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor election fraud Thursday.

Michael Aaron Lay, 26, must serve 100 hours of community service and pay a $440 fine. He will be on probation for six months. If he meets those criteria, the charges will be dismissed.

The plea agreement entered in Gaston County Superior Court addressed felony charges that alleged Lay voted illegally in Gaston County in the 2004 primary and primary runoff elections. Lay pleaded instead to “two attempts to do voter fraud,” said Thom Goolsby, Lay’s attorney.

Lay was not available for comment Thursday, but Goolsby was pleased with the case’s quick resolution. Lay was charged in May and indicted by a grand jury last month.

Goolsby said Lay, who graduated from the University of Tennessee’s law school this year, can now sit for the North Carolina State Bar exam in February.

News of the 10th district: See Pat Go Bye Bye,

Okay, now I've got it straight

Since the charges were reduced to misdemeanors, he's all set to move on down the road a la Scooter. No problem.

I want to note for the record that both the Hickory paper and the Charlotte Observer posted these stories in the wee hours.

CO even called it "breaking" news. How something in the next county that happened in front of mainstream media and a court reporter could be "breaking" from 16 hours ago is beyond me. And, so, by 8 or 9 am the story is buried by all the other early-morning news of shootings and shark-bite fears and coroners reports and ethics bill gubernatorial signings.

I keep wondering how the media chooses what to cover and when. They knew but failed to report that Lay turned down the plea agreement Monday. They knew about this by 11 a.m. at the latest yesterday. Do McHenry's people call or wink and say, "You know what to do." Or, do they just aid the Congressman as a matter of course?

If I ever get in any kind of trouble I want to be prosecuted by Locke Bell and have it reported on by the 10th District. That is, of course, unless their reportorial and prosecutorial laziness is reserved only for people on the "right" side of the voting booth.

(I wish Anglico weren't on vacation. He would rant with me on this one.)
News of the 10th district: See Pat Go Bye Bye,

Sorry...have to take

my new high-schooler to meet with her guidance counselor and get her schedule. No time to rant.

Promise to return and rant another day. :)

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Oh a correction to my rant

I meant 10th district mainstream media.

Hope your girl young woman enjoys high school.

Although how anyone is supposed to walk in school parking lots in this heat is beyond me. I walked four blocks to the subway at 4 on Wednesday and then four blocks to a Capitol Hill bar at 5 and was wiped out . . . (or maybe it was that pitcher of Margaritas??? but it was 102 officially and no idea what the heat index scored. Yesterday was better but today I'm canceling my plans and staying home.
News of the 10th district: See Pat Go Bye Bye,

I never thought

that I would bookmark a conservative blog, but I've been checking them rather frequently lately. They seem to be on the money with most of this stuff, and not afraid to publish it.

I'm sure that Uncle Creepy thinks Richard Morgan is behind it all.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

They went after Taylor pretty hard

That's how I got to know their work. I heard they lost a lot of advertising over that. Not sure this McHenry stuff is going to make them any friends, either.

But I'm sure their idea of a good McHenry replacement is quite different than mine! But almost anyone would be an improvement.
News of the 10th district: See Pat Go Bye Bye,

The anti-Boylan folks in Moore County

are multiplying. But I'm not sure that we'd all vote the same way. I've already been asked if I would switch my registration so that I could vote in a Republican primary.


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Yeah, I always wonder if I'm not helping them

elect someone who would then be much harder to beat when we find a good candidate. Then again, if we don't bring down the scum that's there, we might not attrack any good candidates.
News of the 10th district: See Pat Go Bye Bye,

I hate to say it

But I'd rather have a decent republican than these Stewartish/Popey puppets.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Anyone who isn't already had or a liar

or a criminal (or all three) would be nice. I guess that's why people like Ron Paul. Yeah, he's a racist but at least he's an honest one.
News of the 10th district: See Pat Go Bye Bye,

He doesn't stand a chance.

I knew that the minute I listened to him and thought - "wait a minute, this guy is talking sense. Are we sure he's a republican?"

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi