The recent denial of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Just the News regarding records from the investigation into GBI Strategies has raised concerns of a familiar theme: government opacity in the name of an ongoing investigation.
According to Just the News, Michigan city and state authorities were investigating allegations of voter registration fraud during the 2020 presidential election. At the center of this investigation was GBI Strategies.
Local law enforcement and state agencies initiated the inquiry, but it was not long before the FBI took the reins, assuming control of the investigation into GBI Strategies.
Contacts between the FBI and local law enforcement persisted into 2022, but details of what transpired after that remain hidden from the public eye. In an effort to uncover this, Just the News filed a FOIA to access critical information about the investigation.
Their FOIA request sought "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."
But, last week, the FBI denied Just the News' FOIA request under the guise of an ongoing investigation.
"The material you requested is located in an investigative file which is exempt from disclosure," the FBI said in its response to Just the News. "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."
The Michigan attorney general's office confirmed the existence of a state investigation into thousands of suspected fraudulent voter registrations, which they subsequently referred to the FBI.
According to Danny Wimmer, the press secretary for the state attorney general, around 8,000 to 10,000 voter registration forms were submitted to the Muskegon clerk before the 2020 general election, among which some were suspected to be fraudulent.
"An organization," Wimmer said, "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."
"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," he added.
Nick Koutsobinas, a Newsmax writer, has years of news reporting experience. A graduate from Missouri State University’s philosophy program, he focuses on exposing corruption and censorship.
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