Accusation: FBI using FOIA exemption to hide investigation of possible voter fraud operation in 2020 election

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MUSKEGON, MI- Late last month, Newsmax reported that John Solomon’s news outlet, Just the News, was denied a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking records from a Justice Department investigation into a company called GBI strategies for possible voter fraud in the state of Michigan during the 2020 presidential election.

The denial drew attention to a familiar theme under the Biden administration—lack of transparency.

Just the News reported that the FBI took over the 2020 investigation into voter fraud in Michigan; however, denied the FOIA request, using a familiar theme employed in the Garland Justice Department—sources and methods in an “ongoing” investigation.

 That exemption, Exemption 7, has been repeatedly used by the Justice Department to avoid releasing information requested under FOIA and to hinder Congressional investigators looking into corruption in the Biden administration.

Police reports obtained by Just the News from the Muskegon Police Department and the Michigan State Police showed a company called GBI Strategies was being investigated relative to a voter fraud scheme in the 2020 presidential election. At some point, the FBI elbowed local and state police out of the investigation.

Just the News noted that contact between local and state law enforcement with the FBI continued into 2022. However, there is no further evidence of what happened after that in memos obtained by the outlet under Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act.

The FBI’s denial took place last week, Just the News reported.

The outlet’s request asked for “copies of all reports, documents, and records about GBI Strategies, including all communication and correspondence regarding investigations into GBI Strategies with Michigan government officials, city and state law enforcement agencies in Michigan, and all other state government officials and law enforcement agencies involved in investigations of GBI Strategies.”

In their response, the FBI wrote, in part: “The material you requested is located in an investigative file which is exempt from disclosure.”
The agency cited 5 U.S. Code §. 552(b)(7)(A) as justification for refusing to disclose the requested records, in particular “records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the production of such law enforcement records or information…could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.”

Continuing, the FBI wrote: “The records responsive to your request are law enforcement records; there is no pending or prospective law enforcement proceeding relevant to these responsive records, and the release of the information could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.”

Newsmax wrote the Michigan attorney general’s office confirmed the state was investigating suspected fraudulent voter registrations numbering in the thousands, which was subsequently referred to the FBI.

Danny Wimmer, press secretary for Attorney General Dana Nessel, said between 8,000 and 10,000 voter registration forms were submitted to the Muskegon, Michigan city clerk before the 2020 election, whereby he said some of them were suspected to be fraudulent.

“An organization turned in some thousands of voter registrations throughout the fall of 2020,” Wimmer said, “estimated on the high end to be cumulatively 8-10,000, and some within those batches were found to be suspicious or fraudulent.”

He continued, “None of the fraudulent material was incorporated into the state’s qualified voter file, and this had no effect on any ballot requests or associated processes. This attempted fraud was detected because the system worked.”

Wimmer told The Detroit News in September that state officials referred the investigation to the FBI because it had national jurisdiction. “The case was referred to the FBI in March of 2021,” Wimmer told Just the News.

The outlet initially contacted the FBI on Aug. 9, 2023, with the agency’s National Press Office telling Just the News on Aug. 10 that their “standard practice [is] to neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation.” Meanwhile, the Muskegon Police Department refused to comment “because this matter is possibly an active investigation by our law enforcement partners.”

A Michigan State Police report dated March 202 read, “D/SGT PONZETTI…STATES FBI TASK FORCE SHE IS ASSIGNED TO HAS POSSIBLE INVESTIGATION REGARDING [REDACTED] IN OTHER STATES. REQUESTED MSP, AG, AND MPD REPORTS FOR REVIEW.”

Copies of the Michigan State Police reports may be found here…and here.

A supplemental MSP report dated May 28, 2021, reads, “Case will remain open as FBI has opened an investigation on the nation wide [sic] organization.”

The last dates on the report are Aug. 19, 2022, where it reads, “STILL MAINTAINING EVIDENCE FOR FBI,” and Sept 20, 2022, which reads, “Six months supp.,” and notes that the investigation remains “open.”

A Muskegon Police Department report indicated the FBI visited that agency in May 2021 to examine voter registration applications.

In March of that same year, the Muskegon PD received a call from an FBI agent, whereby they “request[ed] random copies of some of the voter applications,” the report read. The agent also spoke with the Muskegon city clerk, who advised that “there was another box of applications with thousands of applications that were turned in after the deadline [and] thus never examined. He requested that these be retained by the police department pending further investigation.”

While GBI maintains a business listing in Cordova, Tennessee, in 2020, the company had offices in Philadelphia, employees from Atlanta working in Michigan, and a supervisor in New York for Michigan workers, memos obtained by Just the News said.

Wimmer told The Detroit News the company conducts voter registration drives and is based in Tennessee.

Just the News said it is currently “weighing its legal options regarding a challenge to the FBI’s denial of the FOIA request.”
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