The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) denied a Freedom of Information Act request last week regarding a 2020 voter registration fraud probe the FBI took over in Michigan.
According to Just the News, the FBI denied its Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts request pertaining to records of the FBI’s investigation into GBI Strategies, an organization allegedly involved in voter registration fraud during the 2020 presidential election.
The FBI refused to release the documents in its probe by claiming an exemption in the Freedom of Information Act due to ongoing investigations.
Just the News claimed that the Freedom of Information Act request asked the FBI to provide “copies of all reports, documents, and records about GBI Strategies, including all communication and correspondence regarding investigations of 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.”
The news agency’s Freedom of Information Act request stems from Muskegon Police Department and Michigan State Police reports that claim GBI Strategies, which oversees voter registration drives and is headquartered in Tennessee, played a role in alleged voter fraud legislation during the 2020 presidential election.
An investigation was started by both city and state law enforcement authorities prior to the FBI taking control of the investigation.
According to Just the News, local law enforcement and the FBI remained in contact over the matter at least until 2022; however, Just the News explained that the memos it obtained through Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act do not provide evidence concerning what happened.
In 2020, Michigan police conducted interviews of GBI Strategies employees, citing examples of allegedly suspicious or fraudulent voter registrations, according to memos obtained by Just the News. A memo from the Michigan State Police discussed the investigation as “Election Fraud by Forgery.”
Police from Michigan interviewed GBI Strategies employees in 2020 and cited specific instances of registrations that appeared suspicious or fraudulent, the previously obtained memos show. A Michigan State Police memo described the possible crime being investigated as “Election Fraud by Forgery.”
In August, Michigan State Attorney General Press Secretary Danny Wimmer told Just the News that out of 8,000 to 10,000 voter registration forms submitted to the Muskegon clerk prior to the 2020 election, some of the forms were suspected to be fraudulent.
“An organization turned in some thousands of voter registrations throughout the fall of 2020, estimated on the high end to be cumulatively 8-10,000, and some within those batches were found to be suspicious or fraudulent,” Wimmer said.
However, Wimmer noted that the “fraudulent material” was not “incorporated into the state’s qualified voter file.”
In response to the recent Freedom of Information Act request by Just the News, the FBI stated, “The material you requested is located in an investigative file which is exempt from disclosure.”
Citing 5 U.S. Code § 552(b)(7)(A) for the agency’s exemption to the disclosure of the documents, the FBI explained, “The records responsive to your request are law enforcement records; there is a pending or prospective law enforcement proceeding relevant to these responsive records, and release of the information could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.”