Two conservative operatives charged with trying to suppress votes in Detroit

Dana Nessel said two conservative operators 'specifically targeted minority voters in an attempt to deter them from voting in the November election.' (File photo)

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Thursday filed criminal charges against two conservative political operatives she alleges are behind a robocall aimed at suppressing the vote in Detroit and other areas with large African-American populations.

Jack Burkman, 54 and of Virginia, and Jacob Wohl, 22 of California, are accused of voter intimidation, conspiracy to violate election law and using a computer to commit crimes. Each is a felony punishable by up to five or seven years in prison and fines.

Wohl previously denied involvement in the robocall, in which a narrator says both he and Burkman’s names before warning voters that casting a ballot by mail will put their personal information into a “public database that will be used by police departments to track down old ones and be used for credit card companies to collect outstanding debts.”

The robocall falsely claimed that voter information could be used to “track people for mandatory vaccines” and warned residents to “be wary of vote by mail.”

Calls went to nearly 12,000 residents with Detroit’s 313 area code, according to Nessel’s office, which worked with attorneys general in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio where similar robocalls were reported in urban areas. It’s believed about 85,00 calls were placed nationally. 

“This effort specifically targeted minority voters in an attempt to deter them from voting in the November election,” Nessel said in a statement. 

Bridge Magazine was unable to reach Burkman or Wohl. 

Wohl previously told The Detroit News he and Burkman “have never done robocalls” and were not involved. "We figure it's probably some internet prankster if we had to speculate, but, of course, it's too soon to know for sure,” he said in August.

Nessel’s office declined to disclose any evidence they have directly linking Wohl and Burkman to the calls. That “will come out in court,” spokesperson Ryan Jarvi told Bridge. Felony complaints filed against Burkman and Wohl only list their alleged crimes. 

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson praised the “swift and thorough investigation” by Nessel,  a fellow Democrat, vowing they will “use every tool at our disposal to dispel false rhetoric and seek justice on behalf of every voter who is targeted and harmed by any attempt to suppress their vote.” 

Wohl and Burkman are national operatives but have dabbled in Michigan before. Last year, a Ferris State University student claimed the duo pressured him into making a false sexual assault accusation against Democrat Pete Buttigieg, who was running for president at the time.

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Fri, 10/02/2020 - 8:56am

They are republicans and are above OUR laws SO not a thing will happen to them!!!

Fri, 10/02/2020 - 11:59am

I think you mean democrats face no consequences. Voter fraud has run rampant already. And nothing ever happened to the black panther group that was harassing white voters before the 2016 election....

Fri, 10/02/2020 - 3:36pm

You obviously didn't read the article.

American Monarchs
Fri, 10/02/2020 - 12:43pm

Expect Bill Barr's blessings.

Fri, 10/02/2020 - 11:29am

I am so old that I can remember when the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibited the government from abridging free speech. Didn't matter whether that speech was true or not, as long as it did not do physical harm.

I call BS
Fri, 10/02/2020 - 3:38pm

Is that what Benedict Arnold was doing, just exercising his right to free speech? You're a traitor to our form of government.

GOP Wack Jobs
Fri, 10/02/2020 - 3:39pm

10x25mm, you want more not less fraud?

Sat, 10/03/2020 - 1:11pm

You're apparently old enough to be sufferring from some serious cognitive decline: free speech has never been an absolute right in the USA. The 1st amendment has never protect fraud, incitement to riot, yelling fire in a crowded theater or in this case attemting to fraudulently interfere with the electoral process.

Sat, 10/03/2020 - 9:26pm

Political speech has always enjoyed the highest degree of judicial protection under the First Amendment, regardless of its truthfulness. Only when it foments imminent violence has it been limited by the American courts.

Financial frauds and false alarms are not political speech, nor is treason during wartime. Non sequiturs will not make your case, or our Attorney General's case.

The only real question here is whether these two operatives were engaged in political speech.

Fri, 10/02/2020 - 11:57am

Can nessel be indicted for voter fraud for sending ballot applications to dead people and non residents?

No, she can't
Fri, 10/02/2020 - 3:38pm

Can you study real science?

Only if
Fri, 10/02/2020 - 7:56pm

These people can be indicted too!!
The unsolicited absentee ballot request forms sent by the Center for Voter Information and the North Carolina GOP appear to be legitimate,

Just so ya don't say fake news-
The Center for Voter Information, a 501(c)4 nonprofit advocacy organization, is responsible for the mail-in ballot applications

Ohhh by the by? I just got my ballot in the mail the other day. I didn't solicit it. It just came in the mail. It will 'til I tell them to stop sending them.

Now do...
Fri, 10/02/2020 - 8:00pm

Project Veritas!

They give "Truth" a bad name!!

If this isn't exactly what Publicans do and how they govern, I don't know what better example you could come up with.