Pro-Trump groups in Arizona and Michigan attempted to fool the National Archives by sending forged certificates of ascertainment declaring Trump the recipient of the state’s 2020 electors. The Jan. 6 committee now has those fake certificates, thanks to the secretaries of State for both swing states, Politico reported on Monday.
The National Archives shared the forged documents with state officials, informing them it would not accept the fakes. Representatives for the officials declined to comment on the documents to Politico, but they confirmed that Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and their staff met with the Jan. 6 committee this past November.
“They mostly discussed election administration in Arizona, the 2020 elections, threats/harassment directed toward the office, and the Cyber Ninja’s partisan ballot review,” a spokesperson for Hobbs told Politico, while a representative for Benson said the secretary of State discussed the election as well as the days before Jan. 6.
The forged documents sent in the wake of the election, which were obtained through a public records request, purport to show all of both state’s electors, 16 in Michigan and 11 in Arizona, casting their votes for Trump and Pence.
The Arizona group that sent the forgery, called “AZ Protect the Vote,” is a sovereign citizen group. Because their letter included the state seal, the state sought legal action, referring the case to the attorney general and writing a cease and desist letter instructing the group to stop using the insignia. Lori Osiecki, who leads the group, told the Arizona Republic in Dec. 2020 that a meeting with Rudy Giuliani helped convince her to send the forgery. The Michigan group did not use the state seal.
Politico noted in its piece that the Jan. 6 committee is looking into state-level efforts to overturn the election. The forged certificates of ascertainment are among “thousands” of records state officials have turned over to the committee. “We want to let the public see and hear from those individuals who conducted elections in those states,” Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) told the outlet.