Tag Archive for Dick DeVos

Quid Pro Quo: How The DPS Bail Out Passed

Pavlovian Conditioning In Michigan Politics

Money Transfer ImageMichigan’s campaign finance laws were designed to expose quid pro quo donations to legislators and politicians by the individuals and groups having special interests in government actions. A particular goal of campaign finance laws was to prevent politicians from benefiting personally from their votes and actions. In the American Civics version of representative government, politicians are expected to represent their voters exclusively. Selling their votes and actions to the highest bidder creates an unresponsive, alien government in short order. Think Venezuela, Illinois, or Detroit. Where Michigan is now heading.

Political campaigns are expensive today. Consultants and media outlets are the particular beneficiaries of lavish campaign spending and have, in turn, convinced candidates that money is the sine qua non of political success. Today, you are not considered a serious candidate for the lowest rung in the Michigan political firmament – State Representative – unless you have a $ 100,000 campaign war chest.

American politicians and their special interest backers are developing a technique which directs quid pro quo donations right into politicians’ pockets.  This technique is fast becoming a staple of Michigan politics and Michigan’s nitwit media have ignored this ingannation of representative government.

Michigan politicians are now morphing into vending machines that cater to the highest bidders in Lansing and Washington.  This explains the passage of the PA 192 – 197 Detroit Public Schools bail out over the objections of many outraged Michigan voters.

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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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The Free Press Wants to Help Republicans

Really????

John Kasich Image 1The Detroit Free Press Editorial Board endorsed Ohio Governor John R. Kasich in the March 8th Republican Presidential Primary yesterday. Governor Kasich is a fine man with many worthwhile qualifications, but every poll and vote this year indicate that he is way out of step with the current political zeitgeist. Common Core, Medicaid expansion, and global warming are not Republican crowd pleasers. Even the Democratic Presidential candidates are soft peddling these losers.

Is there a single genuine Republican in Michigan stupid enough to believe that the Detroit Free Press Editorial Board would actually do anything of benefit to the Republican Party, nationally or in Michigan?

Remember that the Detroit Free Press Editorial Board endorsed our current “I know noooooothing” RINO Governor not just once, but twice. Governor Snyder and his merry band of brown-nosing bureaucrats have really boosted the fortunes of the Michigan Republican Party, haven’t they? Even the DeVos family – big Kasich contributors in Ohio Governor racesare not peddling him in Michigan.

So why would the Detroit Free Press Editorial Board endorse Governor John Kasich in the Republican Presidential Primary? Two possibilities: the arrogance of the witless, or another ploy to destroy the Michigan Republican Party.

You decide.

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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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Today’s Mystery

SafeRoadsYes! Has A Phantom Contributor

Mystery Money

Today was the deadline for the last campaign finance filings with the Michigan Secretary of State before the May 5th vote on Proposal 1. SafeRoadsYes! filed five late contribution reports and a pre-special general report. Contributions supporting Proposal 1 now exceed $ 8 million and, as you might expect, the roster of SafeRoadsYes! contributors reads like a Michigan road constructors’ directory. SafeRoadsYes! expenditures now exceed $ 7.2 million, and SafeRoadsYes! still has more than $ 843,000 yet to be spent.  Of course there may be massive contributions yet to be made which would not be reported until after the election.

MGM Grand Casino and FireKeepers Casino contributed $ 50,000 each, presumably to curry favor with the Lansing power elites. BlueCross/Blue Shield and the Michigan Township Association each threw in $ 100,000 which was picked from your pockets by ObamaCare and your property taxes, respectively. Dick DeVos, after having his stooge knife Representative Gamrat for not supporting Proposal 1, got in late with a $ 50,000 contribution from his Alticor investment group.

Powering the Economy SRY Late Contribution Report 4-24-15There is one phantom entity in the SafeRoadsYes! late contribution reports which is worth investigating. An organization called ‘Powering the Economy’ gave $ 75,000 on 22 April. The problem here? ‘Powering the Economy’ doesn’t exist in either the Michigan LARA corporate database or the Secretary of State’s searchable PAC database. So who are they?

Best guess, the merry screw ups at the Detroit Regional Chamber have created a new ballot question PAC to replace their recently terminated – and heavily cited – ‘Detroit Regional Chamber PAC II‘ ballot question PAC. DRC PAC II earned eighteen citations from the SoS since 2013 for filing screw ups. DRC PAC II filed a dissolution notice on 02 April and paid the $ 875.00 dissolution fee on 07 April. ‘Powering the Economy’ has the same address as the Detroit Regional Chamber, One Woodward Avenue in Detroit – which used to be known as the MichCon or ANR Building before Dan Gilbert bought it. And DRC has trademarked ‘Powering the Economy’ as one of their signature catch phrases.

Somebody is ignoring Michigan’s campaign finance laws. Not just ignoring them, trampling them. But this has been a routine practice during the Proposal 1 proponents’ campaign. Our Attorney General is supposed to enforce these laws, but he hasn’t been exactly active on this front despite Schuette ostensibly opposing Proposal 1. So all we can do at this late date is tell you about another scam behind Proposal 1 and let you spike this dragon at the ballot box. Sweet revenge is $ 9 million of your opponents’ money down the drain. Vote May 5th.

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Freedom Fund Silent On MCRI Victory

Why is such an influential 'conservative' group so silent about such a civil rights victory?

cone-silenceA funny thing happened on the way to yesterday’s US Supreme Court victory for Michigan.

Greg McNeilly, and the DeVos funded Freedom fund were unusually quiet.  The all-things-go except true equality “Freedom Fund” was silent on the issue, offering no opinion, no support, or any insight where it stands with regard to racial preferences.  Apparently, this influential, well financed, political advocacy group had no qualms about the state constitution being squashed by activist judges.

The question if of whether we should be surprised was answered years ago.  In 2003, Greg McNeilly, who was the executive director under Michigan Republican party chair Betsy DeVos,  made it clear that voters should not be in charge of repairing the mistaken race based decision making process.

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