July 22, 2014 at 1:00 am

Democratic Party releases footage it says came from Mich. GOP 'spies' targeting candidates

The Democratic Party on Tuesday released more footage it uncovered from hidden cameras the group claims the Michigan Republican Party has been using to spy on state Democratic candidates.

The YouTube clip, listed as paid for by the Michigan Democratic State Central Committee, shows spyware footage taken during four events Republicans reportedly infiltrated this year.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer has accused Republicans of attempting to spy on his campaign. Schauer’s campaign and Oakland County Democrats came in possession of the tiny disk they say contains raw video footage secretly recorded by a young woman and man with spyware eyeglass cameras at a Schauer campaign fundraiser June 22 at a private home in Bloomfield Hills. The disk was found on the floor of the Pipefitters Local 636 union hall in Farmington Hills after a July 8 Oakland County Democratic Party meeting.

Republicans have defended their campaign snooping.

During a recording on Feb. 26, a male is heard apparently instructing someone on how to enter a Democratic event.

“You get out of your car and then you go up and you go to whatever event you’re at … say hi and then you give some story about … you just try and blend in,” the man is recorded as saying.

The footage shows spirited attempts to mingle undetected at public events.

One of the recordings reportedly involved a Feb. 26 press conference with Susan Grettenberger, a candidate for Congress. A woman is recorded asking the candidate’s stance on the Affordable Care Act, then wondering aloud if staffers suspected a staged interaction. A third targeted event in the clip reportedly involved Debbie Dingell, a candidate for Congress; Kristy Pagan, a candidate for the House; and Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party chairman, in Detroit in March.

The apparent subterfuge has drawn national attention. MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on her Tuesday broadcast called the tactics “embarrassing.”

In an email to supporters Tuesday night, Michigan Democratic Party spokesman Joshua Pugh said: “This new footage exposes that the secret Republican spying effort is more far reaching than previously reported.”

Michigan Republican Party spokesman Darren Littell declined to comment Tuesday night.