80th District Special Election (2015)

Irony

i·ro·ny (ī′rə-nē, ī′ər-) Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs. An occurrence, result, or circumstance notable for such incongruity.

Lansing City Hall & Court ComplexMichigan House Speaker Cotter just lost a round in the Courser/Gamrat felony criminal case preliminaries. Ingham County District Court 54-A Judge Hugh B. Clarke Jr. ruled Friday it would be “patently unfair” for Gamrat’s and Courser’s attorneys to not have an opportunity to question Cotter in their defense:Judge Hugh Clarke, Jr.

“Without answers to these questions, the Court cannot adequately balance the rights of the Defendants against the right of the Speaker to be free from being compelled to testify,” the order states.

“To make this decision, the Court believes an in camera hearing with counsel for the Defendants, Speaker Cotter and his attorney is warranted. This procedure would allow the court to properly balance the interests of the Defendants against the privilege sought to be accorded Speaker Cotter.”

Speaker Cotter has been claiming immunity under Public Act 27 of 1984 in Judge Clarke’s courtroom:

“AN ACT to provide immunity from civil action to members of the legislature of this state for acts done pursuant to duty as legislators; to prohibit members of the legislature of this state from being made parties to contested cases or other administrative proceedings for acts done pursuant to duty as legislators; and to provide for certain exemptions from subpoenas.”

Specifically Speaker Cotter is claiming immunity from a subpoena ad testificandum under the third section of PA 27 of 1984

MCL 4.553
Subpoena as to statements made by legislator
Sec. 3.
A member of the legislature shall not be subject to a subpoena for any matter involving statements made by the legislator pursuant to his or her duty as a legislator.

The issue here will be that the legal action against Courser and Gamrat in Ingham County District Court 54-A is a criminal action, specifically a felony action, not a civil action. Speaker Cotter is claiming immunity under a statute which pertains to civil actions, not criminal actions.  Michigan’s legislators have no constitutional or statutory relief from subpoenae in felony matters.

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RICO !!!

It's Spring and Lawsuits Are Busting Out All Over

Blind Justice Image 3Just a few short weeks ago, it appeared that the Presidential race and State House elections would dominate political news in Michigan for the rest of the year. Now it appears that courtrooms in Detroit and Lansing will provide compelling political drama as well. Drama which is going to cost Michigan taxpayers a bunch of money.

There have been a number of lawsuits filed over the Flint water fiasco (over 71!), but yesterday a consortium of law firms filed a Federal class action lawsuit on behalf of Flint residents using the 1970 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. This represents a whole new level of legal pain. Civil RICO provides for treble damages when a pattern of racketeering is proven to have occurred over time. It also guarantees the plaintiffs’ lawyers fees, a small fact which assures that civil RICO lawsuits will be pursued with enthusiasm to the bitter end. Conviction applies the stigma of typical previous RICO defendants, such as mobsters and drug kingpins, to a losing defendant. Michigan, at large, is a defendant in this suit. Capisce?

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Bitter Consequences

Scorched Earth Politics Isolates the Republican Establishment in Michigan

Mitt Romney Image 1Anyone who watched or listened to Mitt Romney’s lame assault on Donald Trump yesterday had to wince at the Obamacare architect and gun control proponent questioning the bona fides of the current Republican front runner. Hypocrisy at its finest. A blatant violation of Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment. A testament to the abject desperation coursing through the Republican establishment today. Stark evidence of how few friends the Republican establishment actually owns has.

Just how did the Republican establishment get themselves into this predicament?

What does their predicament portend in Michigan politics?

This year’s Presidential nomination process demonstrates convincingly that money is no longer a substitute for actual human support in a political process where the great unwashed get to vote. Money – and the TV advertising it bought – had a 40 year run buying elections, but this elixir of modern American politics is no longer working. ¡Jeb! is very expensive history. The great unwashed are in open revolt.

Ace over at the Ace of Spades HQ blog offered the very best analysis of the national Republican establishment’s current predicament, which compelled Mitt’s embarrassing performance yesterday. You should read it in its entirety, but in a nutshell:

The Republican establishment has no one credible to make their case against Donald Trump. Absolutely no one who has even a shred of credibility with Trump supporters. They sent Mitt Romney out on yesterday’s kamikaze mission because they had nothing better to offer. Then they will have to spend a mountain of wealth with no real prospects of success. And engage in strong arm tactics. Making an embarrassing spectacle of themselves.

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Absentee Voter Ballot Applications Available Now

Absent Voter Ballot Application HeaderThe standard form required to request an absentee ballot in the upcoming March 8th Michigan presidential primary is now available online as a .pdf file hereThe large print version of the application for the visually impaired as a .pdf is here.  Completing and filing this application also gets you the ballot(s) for any local candidates and/or issues also voted on in March.  Note that you have to designate your political party preference on this request form to receive the presidential primary ballot you wish to vote.  A neat way to get you into someone’s big data file.

Just download this application form, fill it out, and mail it to your clerk.  Completed applications which request an absentee ballot be mailed to you must be received by your clerk no later than 2:00 PM on Saturday, 05 March.  However, this is cutting things awful close.  You will receive your absentee ballot in the return mail, but bear in mind that U.S. Postal Service First Class mail is running slow in the age of Obama.  Late absentee ballots are not counted and this has become a significant issue as of late.

You will probably have to mail your ballot by Thursday, 03 March to be assured that your clerk receives your ballot by election day.  You can always hand deliver (or have a friend deliver) an absentee ballot to your clerk before the polls close on election day.

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RightMi.com 2015 Year In Review

RightMi.com top stories for 2015

Year in reviewWe’ve reached the end of 2015.

Running the gamut from man eating roads to bald face lies, Michigan politics is a ‘special’ place. RightMi.com highlights certain aspects of our system by bringing certain aspects not typically examined by the mainstream to the forefront.   With writing from folks in all parts of the state, we have been able to add perspective not found elsewhere.  Please enjoy, be active, and keep coming back!

STOP-167Coming out of 2014, that session’s legislative knuckleheads carved out a wonderful political battle extending right up to a special vote May 5, which was soundly defeated 80 to 20.  Add to this the cost of the special election that could be as high as $10,000,000, and the resources necessary on both sides to fight it.

In RightMi.com’s opening salvo for 2015, KG One says

“But, I’ve also heard that very same sales pitch before (going back at least several decades, in fact), and have been very disappointed by the outcome each and every time.”

And he was hardly wrong in hedging his optimism as disappointment has once again begat the theme with the political class we have learned to trust so implicitly. <sarc=off>

The ‘safe roads’ nonsense was replete with payoffs to just about every single constituency, and the majority GOP legislature made sure that those ‘po folk’ would get their due if the tax hikes would pass.

The PowWow happened, and we promoted, then reported on it.  The Mackinac Center made an unexpected decision to withdraw from the opportunity to reach 400 or so Michigan activists.  Apparently, Dave Agema, a white haired old veteran ‘racist’ (seen on the right with one of his ‘mortal enemies,’ Pastor Phil Smith) was too overwhelming and politically incorrect that he might rub off in some way.  We gave them a “bad doggie” award and moved on. (I still love you guys..  just don’t do that again, OK?)

A shame they didn’t show up.  One guy who did however, was Lt. General William G Boykin.

Now that guy was the real deal. He offered an inspirational speech (click the link above), and was later used as an example of concern about the lack of will by a couple of ‘tea soldiers’ to fight in Michigan’s legislature.  Though with a couple of highlights, the powwow takeaway in the end, was less than stellar from the perspectives of attendees and some organizers.

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Omertà: The New Code of Michigan Campaign Finance Reporting

You Are Going to Know A Whole Lot Less The Next Time You Vote

Michael Kowall Image 2The Michigan House and Senate sent a much revised and dramatically expanded Senate Bill 571 H-3 to Governor Snyder last Wednesday. Introduced by Senator Kowall as a 12 page bill establishing some esoteric campaign finance rules for various types of PACs in Michigan, this bill morphed into a 53 page political grab bag incorporating SB 638 S-2 at the very last minute. It creates a whole new way to conceal political expenditures from public scrutiny until long after an election is over. Think of it as the mafia’s code of omertà applied to Michigan campaign finance.

Michigan’s nitwit news media are decrying the limits placed upon a ‘public body’ in Section 57(3), which prevents them from using public funds to propagandize voters on local ballot questions. This limitation doesn’t go far enough. Remember how the Michigan Municipal League, the Michigan Association of Counties, and the county road commissions pulled out all the stops for Proposal 2015-01? No prohibition against this in SB 571 H-3, but there should be. Citizens should not have to fight their tax dollars in the political arena. Section 57(3) would be a real benefit to Michigan politics if it had been extended to state ballot questions, but it wasn’t.

Now to the really devious aspect of SB 571 H-3, which our nitwit media missed. MCL 169.233(3)(a) currently requires ‘independent committees’ to report their financial expenditures on behalf of candidates and ballot questions four times a year. ‘Independent committees’ currently have to file reports on their campaign finance activities during February, April, July, and October. This is not quite a quarterly basis, but it is fairly well spaced out through the year. MCL 169.233(1) already exempts ‘independent committees’ from the regular election campaign statement reporting schedule – immediately before and after elections – required of most other committees. MCL 169.233(5) requires ‘independent committees’ to file reports of expenditures made within 45 days before a special election, but it is easy to use prepayments and accounts payable to avoid this window during most special elections. And this 45 day reporting window does not exist for regular elections. So you are only going to get quarterly reports from ‘independent committees, except in rare circumstances.

Section 33(3) of SB 571 H-3 completely eliminates the February campaign finance report for all types of committees, including independents. This creates a bastard reporting schedule consisting of two quarterly reports and one semiannual report five months after November elections.. Most political committees have to file pre and post election statements, so their campaign expenditures and sources of funds will continue to be known on a timely basis, regardless of this change. But independent committees are not required to file pre and post campaign reports for regular elections, so they will now have a six month interval after their October reports before they have to report their finances – on April 25th of the following year.

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You Don’t Say?

Inside Michigan Politics ranks its most conservative and most liberal legislators, and guess what?

HB4736Susan Demas, not exactly known for sympathy to conservative causes must be having fun.

Recently editing the Inside Michigan Politics scoring of conservative and liberal state representatives, she gets to shame Republicans with their own rhetoric, and as a bonus, can gloat over the self inflicted loss of true conservative voting in the Michigan house. Her report:

Inside Michigan Politics has compiled the definitive rankings of the “Most Liberal and Most Conservative” members of the House of Representatives for 2015. The rankings are based on 28 litmus test roll-call votes this year.

“Most Conservative” winners Courser and Gamrat both notched 4.8% liberal voting records. Following them is Rep. Gary Glenn (R-Midland) with a 7.1% liberal record. Reps. Jim Runestad (R-White Lake) and Lana Theis (R-Brighton) tied for third by posting 10.7% liberal voting records.

Snap.

A reminder BTW, that such ‘diehard’ conservatives Glenn, Runestad, and Theis all voted yea on the expulsion of Gamrat, and the expected expulsion of Courser prompted him to resign prior to expulsion.  Gosh, they could have used a vote or two of support on HB4736, as each voted correctly to deny the government beast more of our kibble.

Hello Birthday Tax.

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Come Out, Come Out, Whoever You Are!

The Election's Over, Your 10 Days Are Up, File Your Damned Campaign Finance Statements

Richard D. McLellan

Richard D. McLellan

A scratch corporation named Michigan’s Voice (LARA 71630M) was registered with Michigan’s Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Department on 26 October by a connected lawyer, Richard D. McLellan. He signed the Articles of Incorporation on 15 October.

Michigan's Voice Flyers

Michigan’s Voice Flyers

Just in time to mail two obnoxious, lying flyers knifing Jim Storey, the second place finisher in the 80th House District special primary held on 03 November. The address used for the Michigan’s Voice LARA filing and printed on the flyers was not Richard McLellan’s, rather it was that of Eric E. Doster’s law firm Doster Law Offices, PLLC.

Close Up, Michigan's Voice Flyer

Close Up, Michigan’s Voice Flyer

 

 

The Michigan Campaign Finance Act, PA 388 of 1976, requires all committees engaged in Michigan politics to file a Statement of Organization within 10 days of being formed. MCL 169.221 Section 21(9) also requires all committees to designate a Treasurer before receiving and disbursing funds. MCL 169.232 Section 32(9) further requires all committees to report late contributions [those received after 18 October in this election] be filed with the SoS within 48 hours of receipt as well. Michigan’s Voice has done none of this.

Committees are defined in MCL 169.203, Section 3(4) as:

“a person who receives contributions or makes expenditures for the purpose of influencing or attempting to influence the action of the voters for or against the nomination or election of a candidate,………., if contributions received total $500.00 or more in a calendar year or expenditures made total $500.00 or more in a calendar year.”

The word ‘person’ in this act is used in the legal sense and most definitely refers to a corporation registered at LARA, fiddling in politics. Michigan’s Voice is assuredly a committee under the MCFA.

Michigan's Voice Articles, Page 1

Michigan’s Voice Articles, Page 1

Twenty-one days have passed since Richard McLellan signed Michigan’s Voice’s Articles of Incorporation and 10 days have passed since those Articles of Incorporation were officially filed by LARA. I received the first Michigan’s Voice flyer on 28 October, so arrangements and payments must have been made days before that. Arena Communications of Salt Lake City, the Michigan’s Voice mailings’ designer and printer, isn’t that quick and the U.S. Postal Service certainly isn’t. So the MCFA 10 day grace period has been sorely abused.

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Gamrat’s Final Word

Allegan race hitting a boiling point.

gamratCindy Gamrat is not giving up on setting the record straight in a recent messaging effort.

In my opinion she is rightfully standing firm and remains the best choice for voters in tomorrow’s special election.  A strange mission by house leadership, and the agenda that is in play to control the 80th district seat and its votes is simply bad for Michigan.  Our Lansing politicos have indeed gone to the dark side (timely Star Wars reference) after pretending a change to be made in the way things are done in the capitol.

The problem is that there is a lot of money to be made for SOME folks as the Michigan legislature passes more and higher taxes upon the serfs of the state. As we’ve seen, no majority of GOP in our houses can guarantee responsible management of what we have already surrendered, as long as the special lobbying interests push higher taxes to pad their road building bank accounts.

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The ‘Money Poll’ in Michigan’s 80th District House Race

Mary Whiteford - the Establishment's Revenge for Proposal 1's Defeat?

More campaign finance reports are trickling in to the Secretary of State’s Bureau of Elections and it is clear that an avalanche of money from establishment Republicans is backing Mary Whiteford in the State House of Representatives 80th District special election. You have to dig a little to figure out just how much money and from where, but most of the evidence is available. Let’s call this the ‘money poll’.

Mary Whiteford Image 2Ms. Whiteford’s official committee (BoE 516401) has collected $ 28,200, plus another $ 2,807.96 of in kind contributions (actually expenditures) by the candidate herself. Great Lakes Education Project, an IRS 527 political action committee, has been furiously mailing cards supporting Mary Whiteford and trashing Cindy Gamrat. – $ 15,477 worth. So a total of $ 46,484.96. Another group, Michigan’s Voice (LARA 71630M), has made at least one mailing on Mary Whiteford’s behalf, but little is known about this recently incorporated (10/26/15) group and they have made no filings with the SoS BoE. By law they have 10 days to file, so we probably won’t know anything further about their efforts until after the primary. A well targeted mailing in the 80th costs around $ 4,000, so the Michigan’s Voice effort elevates Ms. Whiteford’s total funding in this special primary above $ 50,000.

Only 26 of Ms. Whiteford’s contributions – $ 6,300 – came from within the 80th District (excluding the candidate’s own contributions), far less than the 200 plus contributions that came to her from within the District in her first election attempt last year. This year, 85% plus of her funding is coming from establishment Republicans from outside the 80th.

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