Just 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?
New Poll: Peabody Up, Courser Tied For Third in Historic Special Election
You may remember that, a few days ago, I had made reference to the Courser-Gamrat saga – at least from the perspective of Todd A. Courser – playing out very much like a classic six-act Shakespearean-style tragedy, in which the catastrophic resolution for TAC was the modern “ritual suicide” of a Nixonian-style resignation, right as it became obvious that republican leadership in the State House had finally brokered a deal with democrat leadership to tally the votes necessary to expel him from their membership. I also mentioned that, unlike the theatre, real life doesn’t end with the final curtain, as we saw play out a mere week later. To quote Brian Began from an Inside Michigan Politicspress release from last Friday:
“Much like the residents of Elm Street and the campers at Crystal Lake, the Lapeer County Courser monster just won’t go away. It’s the sequel nobody wanted, and it’s coming to a ballot box near you this November,” said Brian Began, Elections & Research Director of Grassroots Midwest. “This is not a conventional primary, but a 30-day sprint. Courser has a steep climb, but should he convince enough of his allies to support him in November, Republicans could again be dealing with a nightmare scenario.”
So, instead of Romeus Montague, Began believes that we may rather be dealing with Freddy Krueger . . . yikes. Popcorn, anyone?
Recall by constituents would have been a more appropriate option in the Todd and Cindy debacle.
In the hours leading up to what finally happened, deals were likely made that will hardly resonate later as good policy decisions. “get your merry caucus of non voting dems to do their job, and I’ll make sure you get …,” the highly probable statement from house speaker Kevin Cotter to house minority leader Tim Greimel. Greimel apparently held out for the ‘investigation’ carrot as well. Democrat Floor Leader Singh implied this after Roll Call 295, when he motioned to send the entire matter back to committee.
The House Democrats wanted – and got – more than just a couple of scalps. Their blackmail was effective because all of our representatives were bone tired after 13 plus hours of ‘Rule 32’ imprisonment and ready to go home for the weekend. A Michigan State Police investigation of this sorry situation will almost certainly embarrass House leadership far more than the behaviors of Representatives Courser and Gamrat. They made mistakes, but weren’t sufficiently connected or protected politically to extract themselves once exposed.
Apologies NOT accepted.
Gamrat believed she and her lawyer and all involved understood that it would be ‘censure, not expulsion’ if she prostrated herself in a very public mea culpa. Three hours of intense discussions between her, the House Majority counsel, and her own attorney fleshed out what she considered conditional admittance. According to Gamrat, Hassan Beydoun, Majority Counsel, told her “we can control our side ..” when sealing the ostensible censure deal.
Gamrat says the House leadership did not want to go all the way through removal. Leadership did not want to own an expulsion, which would encourage voters to examine other Lansing shenanigans. Approached multiple times by different legislators and implored to resign, Cindy Gamrat refused. She says the pressure was beyond intense. Gamrat’s resolve held all the way out to 4 AM when it became clear that the House leadership could not, or would not ‘control their side’.
Speaker Kevin Cotter's antics in Lansing may reveal an underhanded effort to raise taxes.
Michigan House speaker Kevin Cotter is turning out to be a real turd in the punch bowl.
Personal ‘Impropriety,’ and the lack of ‘qualifications’ are two very different things. Of course the State Constitution allows each house to determine the qualifications to occupy a seat as a representative. It ALSO allows the house under certain circumstances to (remove) “expel” sitting representatives with a two thirds majority vote.
§ 16 Legislature; officers, rules of procedure, expulsion of members.
Each house, except as otherwise provided in this constitution, shall choose its own officers and determine the rules of its proceedings, but shall not adopt any rule that will prevent a majority of the members elected thereto and serving therein from discharging a committee from the further consideration of any measure. Each house shall be the sole judge of the qualifications, elections and returns of its members, and may, with the concurrence of two-thirds of all the members elected thereto and serving therein, expel a member. The reasons for such expulsion shall be entered in the journal, with the votes and names of the members voting upon the question. No member shall be expelled a second time for the same cause.
Qualifications, elections, returns, are all specific to the elections, and the follow up is the expulsion clause.
Two apostles can teach us much about handling a current scandal.
For a little over a week now, we’ve been . . . treated . . . to a bit of a media circus revolving around a couple of tea party legislators in the Republican House Caucus in Lansing. Predictably, there has been much hand-wringing and calling for heads coming from key figures within the statewide republican establishment. Also predictably, there has been much hand-wringing and calling for heads from within the statewide tea party movement.
I say “also predictably” because many of the high profile tea partiers in this state have developed a habit of happily piling on any politicos from “our side” who screw up publicly. Given the way that these people are finding fault with every single republican POTUS candidate for 2016, I suspect that Jesus Christ himself could be on the ballot, and two out of every three tea partiers in Michigan would still figure out a reason to crucify him. Speaking of which . . .
Did Watergate teach you nothing? (Yet another case of not learning from history.)
I got wind of this via a phone call at around 07:41 this morning, while I was still getting my head screwed on straight (on my first actual day off in about three weeks), and quite frankly, I have no idea how to categorize this one. “Wrong-headed thinking” seems like a solid characterization, and I’m well-aware of the double entendre involved.
Get a load of this smear job (No, I’m not giving links to Finley for any advertising hits).
click on image to enlarge
So, basically, slimy nincompoop Nolan wants an amoral society of worker-bees funding a big bifarceisan government or, debt slaves. Well, the bald bastard has just that in the Snyder/Calley administration. It sucks only in other fashion from the prior big spenders.
Nevertheless, there is the ugly truth about what the MI-GOP has become. For those who will be voting next month, when you look around the room at everybody, and you don’t see who “the mark” is – it is you. Tho, I’m rather confident the Party apparatchik will double-down on stupid.