Kerry Bentivolio Deserves a Lump of Coal for Wrong Priorities
All Kerry Bentivolio wants for Christmas is…to impeach President Obama?
The Proclaimers famously sang they would walk 500 miles. Meet Adam Peters, the man who knocks 500 doors – every week.
Adam, a Grosse Pointe Park native who is also balancing a class schedule at Macomb Community College, has set that torrid pace interning three days a week out of the Detroit East office on Mack Avenue. Tina Berisha, the field organizer who runs the office, is thrilled to have a dedicated volunteer like Adam.
“We could certainly use more Adams,” Tina said. “We have a great group of interns here, but not many who are as dedicated as him. He’s helped the whole region’s production go way way up.”
Adam is committed to seeing Gary Peters and Mark Schauer get elected, citing the need to keep Democrats in the majority in the Senate and invest in a clean energy economy here in Michigan.
When asked what he would tell other Democrats who agree but have yet to volunteer, he said simply, “If you really want change then you have to do everything you can to work for it.”
Take Adam's advice and join him in working for what you believe.
Adam: He Would Knock on 500 Doors— MI Democratic Party (@MichiganDems) Oct. 25th 2014
Pam Kellar is the type of person who never stops working until the job is done. She has been volunteering several days each week since the Coordinated Campaign began canvassing and making calls in June. Out of the Sterling Heights office, she enters data and knocks on doors - typically canvassing 50 doors every day despite having to use a walker.
“We cannot sit back and let Republicans take our state in the wrong direction. That is why this election is so important.”
Pam will be working in Oakland County from now through Election Day, and she has one request for Democrats in Michigan:
“Come out and help us. We can’t do it alone.” Take Pam’s advice and spend some time supporting Democrats. Learn more here.
Pam: Working Until Democrats Win— MI Democratic Party (@MichiganDems) Oct. 23rd 2014
To: Interested Parties
From: Joshua Pugh, Michigan Democratic Party Communications Director
RE: Facts About Snyder’s No-Bid Contract to Major Donors
Date: October 21, 2014
News broke yesterday about a series of no-bid contracts awarded by the Snyder administration to J&B Medical Supply, a company owned by Fawzi and Mary Shaya. J&B has received more than $26.4 million in no-bid contracts from the Snyder administration. Snyder administration officials have been spreading misinformation regarding the no-bid contracts; this memo provides factual responses to that misinformation.
Snyder’s Claims vs. The Facts
Fact: Snyder has awarded $26.4 worth of no-bid contracts to J&B, dating back to February 9, 2013—11 months before the Medicaid expansion was approved in Michigan and more than a year before the expansion went into effect.
The Snyder administration has awarded two no-bid contracts to the Shaya family’s company. J&B’s competitively bid contract was set to expire on July 1, 2013. On February 19, 2013, the Snyder administration awarded a new no-bid contract to J&B running from July 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013 and totaling $8,679,958.02. On November 26, 2013, the Snyder administration awarded another no-bid contract to J&B, this time for one year, totaling $17,359,916.04. On June 10, 2014—the day after the Shaya family hosted a fundraiser for Rick Snyder—J&B’s no-bid contract with the State of Michigan was increased by $390,598.11.
The federal government did not approve Medicaid expansion in Michigan until eleven months after J&B received its first no-bid contract from the Snyder administration. On December 30, 2013, Michigan obtained approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to implement the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Medicaid expansion. Further, Medicaid expansion in Michigan did not take effect until April 1, 2014—more than a full year after J&B’s first no-bid contract.
Fact: J&B’s initial contract had two option years that ran through July 2013. Anything beyond that constituted new contracts which required competitive solicitation under Michigan law. It is impossible to “extend” a state contract beyond its initial terms without creating a new contract. J&B’s contract was initially awarded in July 2008, after a competitive bidding process. The contract was for a five-year period—three years, plus an option to extend it for two years to July 2013. That option was exercised and the contract ran until July 1, 2013, at which point the competitively bid contract ended.
Under Michigan law, the Snyder administration was required to seek competitive solicitation from vendors before awarding any new contracts after July 1, 2013. MCL § 18.1261(3) requires that the State “shall utilize competitive solicitation for all purchases authorized under this act” except in a narrow set circumstances. Under Michigan law, “[u]se of the word ‘shall’ sets forth a mandatory directive.” According to a Senate Fiscal Agency analysis, Michigan taxpayers saved $156 million in the first two years that the ban on no-bid contracts went into effect.
Fact: The Snyder administration is ignoring the long, cozy relationship between Rick Snyder and J&B executives.Long before J&B executives hosted a fundraiser for Rick Snyder that raised $73,800 for his re-election efforts, the governor had received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from J&B executives and given them $26.4 million in no-bid contracts.
Fact: That is the go-to response from Rick Snyder and his allies when confronted about the pattern of scandals within his administration. But the facts show otherwise.In September, the Snyder administration called revelations about improprieties within his housing agency “baseless allegations.” It was reported this week that the Snyder administration is now under federal investigation for those improprieties. Snyder officials now say they “welcome the review.”
In April, the Snyder administration called revelations about the governor’s doubling of his cousin’s state furniture contract “baseless and zero merit.” The Center for Michigan’s Truth Squad evaluated the claims and found there was “no foul on Dems' questioning treatment given to Gov. Snyder’s cousin.” According to the Truth Squad, “George Snyder did his cousin no favors by asking Baird to intervene, and the outcome of his actions certainly raise fair questions about the role family ties played.”
Earlier this year, the Snyder administration called criticisms of the State’s contract with Aramark “baseless allegations that are utterly without merit.” But scandal after scandal regarding Aramark’s contract with the MDOC, including the Snyder administration’s secret canceling of a fine against Aramark, led the Detroit Free Press to call the administration’s dealings with Aramark “rotten” and “disgusting.”
It isn’t surprising that the Snyder administration is now calling these latest revelations regarding special treatment for a major donor “baseless.” It also isn’t surprising that the facts show otherwise.
MEMO: Facts About Snyder’s No-Bid Contract to Major Donors— MI Democratic Party (@MichiganDems) Oct. 21st 2014
LANSING - Today the Michigan Democratic Party released new documents revealing that Governor Rick Snyder increased a campaign contributor’s $17.4 million no-bid state contract by $390,598 one day after the contributor’s family hosted an extravagant fundraiser that brought in $73,800 for the governor’s re-election campaign.
On June 9, 2014, the owners of J&B Medical Supply hosted a fundraiser for Rick Snyder in Bloomfield Hills. The lavish event, attended by about 150 contributors, featured crystal stemware, professional lighting design and custom-made Rick for Michigan candy and water bottles. The family posted a video from the fundraiser, which can be viewed here.
One day after the fundraiser, Governor Snyder increased J&B Medical Supply’s contract with the Department of Community Health (DCH) by $390,598. J&B Medical supplies diapers and other incontinence products to DCH. Meeting minutes from the Michigan State Administrative Board show that representatives of Governor Snyder and Lieutenant Governor Calley approved the deal, with no explanation given for the massive increase.
The governor’s actions are in apparent violation of provisions of the Michigan Management and Budget Act, passed in 2005, which require competitive bidding on state contracts. The ban on no-bid state contracts saved the state’s taxpayers $156 million the first two years it was in place.
“These documents again raise questions regarding whether ‘pay to play’ is standard operating procedure in Rick Snyder’s administration,” said Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair. “The governor needs to come clean and explain why he gave special favors to his campaign donors one day after they hosted a glitzy fundraiser for him. The people of Michigan deserve answers from Governor Snyder.”
J&B Medical Supply Company’s initial contract was awarded through a competitive bid process in 2008 during the administration of Gov. Granholm, ultimately expiring in July 2013. Instead of putting the supply contract out for bid, the Snyder administration twice granted the company two no-bid contracts and each time increased the contract’s value.
Revelations involving the medical supply vendor’s fundraising for the governor follow earlier disclosures that the Michigan Economic Development Corporation granted a $730,000 no-bid contract benefitting a furniture company owned by the governor’s cousin, George Snyder. That same company saw its $19 million furniture contract with the state protected by top Snyder aide Richard Baird and other officials from budget cuts proposed by the state Senate. The furniture contract benefiting Snyder’s cousin was subsequently increased to $41 million by the Snyder administration. More than $50,000 was contributed to Rick Snyder’s campaign by employees and family members of the two firms involved in the state furniture contract, DBI Interiors Inc. and Haworth Inc. Baird also played a key role directing the governor’s $1.6 million dark money operations within the NERD fund. Snyder has refused to disclose which corporations donated to the NERD fund or if any of them are vendors with state contracts.
“There is a pattern and practice by the Snyder administration of abusing the public trust,” said Johnson. “Time and again we have seen Rick Snyder undermine the integrity of our state government in order to benefit his political friends, his family and himself. The fact that a day after a state vendor holds a fundraiser for the governor they get a huge no-bid contract increase from the governor is blatantly outrageous and reflects a complete lack of integrity within the Snyder administration.”
The Snyder administration has awarded two no-bid contracts to J&B Medical Supply Co., and increased them by more than $26 million in the past two years.
J&B’s contract was initially awarded in July of 2008, after a competitive bidding process. Under the contract, J&B Medical provides a mail-order diaper and incontinence products sales operation in partnership with MDCH. Funding for the service comes from Medicaid, Medicare, and the State of Michigan General Fund.The contract was for a five-year period—three years, plus an option to extend it for two years to July of 2013. That option was exercised, and the contract was funded at the same rate for its final two years, until July 1, 2013.On February 19, 2013, the Snyder administration awarded a new no-bid contract to J&B Medical Supply by purporting to extend the expiration date six months from July 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013 and adding $8,679,958.02 to the contract price. The contract makes no reference to a bid number, and Michigan’s contract bidding database has no records of a competitive bidding process for the new contract.On November 26, 2013, the Snyder administration awarded another no-bid contract to J&B Medical Supply, this time for one year. This new contract extended into December of 2014 and added $17,359,916.04 to the price. Again, neither the contract nor state bidding records indicate that there was any competitive bidding for this new, multi-million dollar contract. Altogether, the Snyder administration has awarded 18 months worth of no-bid contracts to J&B Medical Supply, adding $26.4 million to the contract price.
The Shaya family and their employees at J&B Medical Supply have personally donated more than $65,000.00 to Rick Snyder’s campaign fund.
Since 2010, contributions to Rick Snyder for Michigan by members of the Shaya family as well as employees of J & B Medical have totaled at least $65,676.19.
New Documents Show That Rick Snyder Hiked $17.4 Million No-Bid State Contract for Big Donor One Day After Hosting Glitzy Fundraiser for Governor’s Campaign— MI Democratic Party (@MichiganDems) Oct. 20th 2014
Steph is a dedicated volunteer in our Pontiac campaign office where she makes calls and knocks on doors every week. She’s going to be out of town on November 4th, so she requested her absentee ballot using miabsentee.com and already received it in the mail.
“It’s so easy to order my absentee ballot now, I’m excited to vote for Democrats now so we win in November.”
Request your absentee ballot in just three steps on miabsentee.com.
Steph: Voting Early and Voting for Democrats— MI Democratic Party (@MichiganDems) Oct. 19th 2014
Senator Stabenow, Lt. Gov. candidate Lisa Brown, Senator Whitmer, other women leaders join women across Michigan in speaking out
LANSING - Women from across Michigan are joining together today to say ‘Enough is Enough’ when it comes to Republican policies and actions that offend and economically hurt women and their families.
Michigan women this week are joined by Senator Debbie Stabenow, state Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, candidate for Lt. Governor Lisa Brown, and other leading Democrats for news conferences today in Oakland County, Lansing, and Grand Rapids, and tomorrow in Flint, where they unveiled a website and online petition at StandUpforMIWomen.com.
From Terri Lynn Land's opposition to the Paycheck Fairness Act, with her comments that women care more about flexibility than pay, to Gov. Snyder and the Republican-controlled Legislature’s assault on women’s health care and their refusal to support equal pay, to Attorney General Bill Schuette leading the charge to make sure employers have the right to decide birth control coverage for women, it is clear that Republican politicians in Michigan are doing everything they can to take women back to the 1950s. Their offensive ads and comments are so out of touch with the lives of women in Michigan that even Ozzie and Harriet would be embarrassed!
"Today women in Michigan are paid 75 cents for every $1 a man makes. Yet they pay the same price for gas, groceries, and housing,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow. “Equal pay is an economic issue for families and the Republicans just don't get it.”
Meanwhile, Republicans from Gov. Rick Snyder to GOP state lawmakers are blocking equal pay measures, either directly or by their failure to support pending legislation.
“It's clear that Rick Snyder and the Republican-led Legislature don't get that when women succeed, we all succeed,” said Lisa Brown, candidate for Lt. Governor. Michigan women earn just 75 cents for every dollar men earn for the same work. That's just wrong. Michigan's women and their families deserve better."
Brown, a former state lawmaker, noted that Lansing Republicans have kept a pay equity bill on hold since May of 2011, refusing to allow even a hearing on the proposed measure.
Senator Gretchen Whitmer pointed to recordings of Republican lawmakers recently released by the Michigan Democratic Party that show Republican lawmakers are committed to ratcheting up a hard-right extremist political agenda aimed at women.
In the recordings, state Senators Mike Green and Patrick Colbeck are heard voicing strong support for so-called “personhood” legislation for Michigan that was so radical that it was soundly rejected by 58 percent of Mississippi voters in 2011
Legal and medical experts say the legislation would outlaw some of the most common forms of birth control, including the pill.
Whitmer said Republican “rape insurance” legislation passed earlier this year that undermined women’s reproductive health is just the beginning of what Republicans have in mind.
“Republicans are just getting started with an agenda that would turn back the clock on women’s rights, put government between a woman and her doctor and advance outrageous ideas like banning birth control,” said Whitmer. “Their anti-women agenda is wrong for Michigan, and we are not going to stand by and watch as they try to erase decades of progress in Michigan.”
MORE: Michigan Women Speak Out On Republican Anti-Women Agenda
Small business owner Dianne Young of Shelby Township on Republican opposition to equal pay for equal work:
“After working at a financial consulting firm for several years I quit after I discovered that my employer was paying men more than I was making and this was for doing the same job as I was doing and we had the same qualifications for the job. I couldn’t afford to stay so I went out and started my own business. It’s just wrong for Republicans to oppose equal pay for equal work.”
Jill Farber-Bramson of West Bloomfield on Republican support for legislation that would ban birth control:
“The idea of criminalizing the birth control pill is so far out of the mainstream it has no business being considered. It’s time we stand up and fight against this extreme agenda that targets women.”
Allendale waitress Jordan Crandell on Republican opposition to equal pay for equal work:
“Women want the same thing as men do when it comes to wages: fairness and an equal opportunity to work hard and get ahead. For me this is an economic issue, not a political issue. When you claim ‘flexibility’ is what I want as a woman wage earner, I say to Terry Lynn Land what I want is a fair wage so I can take care of my family."
Grand Rapids attorney Elizabeth Welch Lykins on Republican opposition to equal pay for equal work:
“It’s 2014, not 1950. It shouldn’t even be a discussion whether women deserve equal pay for equal work. We work, pay the utility bills, buy groceries and prescription drugs and when women are are paid less, it hurts our family's ability to succeed. If Terri Lynn Land, Rick Snyder and Republicans up and down the ticket don't understand this, then they have no business representing us in office.”
Michigan State University student Marie Rose on Republican support for banning birth control and opposition to equal pay for equal work:
“As a student of social work, I can tell you first-hand how wrong Republican leaders like Terri Lynn Land and Governor Snyder are in opposing tougher equal pay protections for women or advancing policies that would ban birth control. Women need to stand together and say ‘enough is enough’ to this agenda that hurts women and our families.”
General Motors retiree Veronica Johnson of Lansing on Republican opposition to equal pay for equal work:
"I worked on the assembly line at General Motors for 30 years and I worked every bit as hard as my male counterparts. I find it appalling that our Governor and his Republican legislature call equal pay protections for women a 'terrible idea' and won't act of legislation that would help ensure women get equal pay for equal work."
Barbara Jean Young of Flint on Republican rape insurance legislation and restrictions on reproductive health care:
“The rape insurance legislation is terrible enough. But now we learn that Republicans like the Attorney General Bill Schuette are pushing to make it harder for insurance to cover birth control. Instead of targeting women's birth control and health care, shouldn't
Attorney General Bill Schuette be prosecuting criminals? Schuette is not the kind of Attorney General Michigan women need."
Women across Michigan say ‘Enough is Enough’ to GOP Anti-Women Agenda— MI Democratic Party (@MichiganDems) Oct. 14th 2014
At last night's gubernatorial debate, Gov. Snyder repeatedly highlighted his out of touch agenda that puts the wealthy and well-connected ahead of seniors and the middle class. Today, Snyder is campaigning with Terri Lynn Land and Jeb Bush, who opposed the auto rescue that saved millions of jobs and brought Michigan’s economy back from the brink of total collapse.
Bush has said government intervention wasn’t “appropriate." He was also asked directly if he supported the rescue in a congressional hearing and simply said, “No.”
In spite of opposition from Bush, Land and other Republicans, the auto rescue saved millions of jobs and over $250 billion in personal income.
In fact, Snyder called the auto rescue "overblown," and Republican Senate Candidate Terri Lynn Land stood with Mitt Romney opposing it when it counted.
It comes as little surprise that a Governor who gave $1.8 billion in tax giveaways to corporations and business interests while raising taxes on seniors, and a Republican Senate Candidate who opposes the auto rescue and would have let 4 million jobs disappear, would embrace an opponent of the auto rescue just weeks before Election Day.
Rick Snyder and Terri Lynn Land Bring Jeb Bush, Auto Rescue Opponent to Michigan— MI Democratic Party (@MichiganDems) Oct. 13th 2014
From: Joshua Pugh, MDP Communications Director
To: Interested Parties
RE: Top 5 Snyder Lies that the Governor must address
Date: Sunday, October 12, 2014
Ahead of tonight's gubernatorial debate Michigan Democrats challenged Gov. Snyder’s sweeping claims that Democrats are ‘lying’ about his record by challenging him to come clean on a range of controversies in which he has told half-truths and outright falsehoods while attempting to deflect public attention away from his record.
On key issues like Snyder’s massive tax hike on retirees, major administration scandals, a $1.8 billion corporate tax cut, a $1 billion cut to schools and reversals on a 2010 campaign pledge of more government transparency, Gov. Snyder has been anything but truthful with the public.
While Snyder accused Democrats nine times of lying during a story published recently by Gongwer News Service, he repeatedly refused to back up his claim with facts beyond the inaccurate assertion that his $1 billion cuts to schools during 2011 did not actually result in any reduction of financial support to schools.
Democrats pointed to five key areas where Gov. Snyder has been untruthful:
Lie #1: Rick Snyder Says There is No Retirement Tax. Gov. Snyder claims he did not put into law a tax on retiree pensions in 2011, telling seniors "it’s not a pension tax."
FACT: Thanks to Snyder, Michigan seniors are now paying a pension tax.
Lie #2: Rick Snyder Says He Didn’t Give Big Tax Cuts to Corporations. Snyder: “Big business did not get a tax cut.”
FACT: Snyder cut corporate taxes by $1.8 billion.
Lie #3: Rick Snyder’s Cousin Didn’t Get His State Contract Doubled while the Governor was Cutting Education and Raising Taxes on Retirees. This year Gov. Snyder blamed the last governor for a state furniture contract benefiting his cousin.
FACT: Under Rick Snyder, George Snyder’s state furniture contract not only avoided cuts, but was more than doubled from $19 million to $41 million. Snyder needs to answer why he doubled his cousin’s furniture contract, even as schools were cut and retirees taxed.
Lie #4: Rick Snyder Claims He Didn’t Education by $1 billion. Snyder says to teachers, “I hope you’re feeling good.”
FACT: According to a former nonpartisan director of the House Fiscal Agency, "Schauer can correctly argue Snyder cut $1 billion in available funding for K-12 schools." According to a recent report from WILX, "Mark Schauer is correct that Governor Snyder did cut close to $1 billion in his first school aid budget."
Lie #5: Rick Snyder’s Campaign Promise of Government Transparency. When Rick Snyder ran for office in 2010, greater government transparency was one of his themes.
FACT: Even as Republican Gov. Snyder was cutting school funding and raising taxes on retirees, he shielded his cousin’s furniture contract from cuts, then doubled it. Snyder gave 90 percent pay raises to his Wall Street investment executives - one of them is now making $333,000. After scandals caused him to resign in disgrace, Snyder’s ex-treasurer was paid not to work, while on a Caribbean cruise. And Snyder’s Housing Director was caught racking up $200,000 in expense reimbursements, including First class flights to the Middle East, luxury hotels and gourmet cuisine.
MEMO: Top 5 Snyder Lies that the Governor must address— MI Democratic Party (@MichiganDems) Oct. 12th 2014
"I support education, retirees and the environment - just like the Democratic Party," that was George’s response when asked why he’s volunteering for Michigan Democrats in 2014.
Every week, husband and wife George and Joanne can be found at their local campaign office in Royal Oak making calls to Michigan voters. They've been volunteering for the Democratic Party for many years, and typically arrive to their volunteer shift in matching "precinct pals" t-shirts.
Help from supporters like George and Joanne is critical leading up to the midterm elections. We know that in Michigan, when Democrats vote we win. But, turnout is much lower during midterm elections, so with every voter we reach, the closer our candidates are victory.
This weekend, we’re on a mission to knock on more doors and reach out to more voters than ever before in this campaign. Now is the time to join our grassroots movement that’s fighting to keep Michigan blue on November 4th. Can we count on you? Click here to join us.
A Little Inspiration From The Precinct Pals— MI Democratic Party (@MichiganDems) Oct. 2nd 2014
GOP War on Women expands beyond rape insurance law
LANSING - Republican lawmakers are committed to ratcheting up a hard-right extremist political agenda aimed at women that includes banning common forms of birth control, and outright denials that equal pay for women is a problem according to stunningly frank and shockingly revealing voice recordings taken at political events held by GOP state legislative candidates.
The recordings, obtained by the Michigan Democratic Party, appear to reflect the views of a large, core group of GOP lawmakers, including two incumbent State Senators—Mike Green and Patrick Colbeck —who are heard voicing strong support for so-called “personhood” legislation for Michigan that was soundly rejected by Mississippi voters in 2011.
In one recording, Sen. Colbeck responds to a question about whether he’d support legislation that mirrored the Mississippi personhood proposal, by saying, “oh yeah… I would love anything we can do in that vein to get going.” Sen. Green, in a separate recorded conversation with a citizen, voices similar support for the controversial proposal, which would define life as beginning at the moment of fertilization and would make it a crime for women to take widely-used forms of birth control.
Meanwhile, Green is also heard dismissing pay inequality for women as a “misnomer” and state Rep. Pat Somerville brands as “a terrible idea” pay equity legislation, insisting that “when you compare (pay) side by side they (women) actually get more than the men.” Not to be outdone, State House candidate Jason Sheppard said equal pay legislation “creates huge problems” and would actually discriminate against men.
Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer pointed out that at least 27 Republican lawmakers supported Mississippi-style personhood legislation in recent years, including Republican Leader Randy Richardville and Speaker Jase Bolger. Whitmer said controversial Republican “rape insurance” legislation passed earlier this year that undermined women’s reproductive health is just the beginning of what Republicans have in mind.
"When you actually hear what these Republican men are saying in their own words at town halls, tea party events and coffee hours you can’t help but believe that rape insurance is just the tip of the iceberg for what’s to come," said Whitmer. "This isn’t just about a few outliers saying dumb things that aren’t true. This is an agenda that threatens every working family in Michigan."
Green, Colbeck and Somerville are all seeking another term and if re-elected would likely be poised for leadership positions within their Republican caucuses. In the recordings, Somerville is heard suggesting that life begins at the moment a sperm is united with an egg and expresses optimism that Michigan might be able to accomplish what Mississippi voters rejected: a ban on birth control.
"I believe life begins at conception and the bottom line is this ain’t a very popular area to have the belief but I’ve had that belief since taken (sic) office," said Somerville, "…and I’m hopeful that we’re moving the ball in the right direction." Rep. Howrylak says: "morally that’s where I am, legally that is where should be."
The voice recordings, which have been posted online and made available to the public, are important because they reveal the unscripted, unvarnished views of Republican legislative leaders and their radical agenda, said Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson.
"These are Republican leaders in their own words," said Johnson. "They want to deny women equal pay, they want to make birth control a crime and when they aren’t within earshot of a reporter they are making it clear this is what they have in mind for Michigan. Now Michigan families can see for themselves and decide whether they want Michigan to become more extreme than Mississippi."
Republicans in Their Own Words
Banning Birth Control, Equal Pay and Rape Insurance:
“Don’t say we don’t understand women.” That statement—made while posing with copies of Glamour magazine—by Republican representatives Pettalia, Victory, and Glardon was widely criticized as emblematic of the GOP’s disconnect with Michigan women. But it is the statements that Republican lawmakers have been making behind closed doors that are truly cause for concern. Here are some recent examples of statements made by GOP officials and candidates at constituent meetings and political events:
• Senator Mike Green on equal pay: “You know equal pay for equal work is a misnomer, ‘cause they’ve proven over and over and over that women and men are pretty close to the same pay. It’s just a fact that many times women will take leaves to have babies—sometimes they’ll leave to raise their kids . . . . So I think sometimes that politically, that’s politically moved to motivate us to feel bad for people who don’t make as much as others.”
• Representative Patrick Somerville called the Fair Pay Act “a terrible idea,” and said “it’s just like they bring up the gender and the inequality in the gender pay and it doesn’t exist.” According to Somerville, “if you take this male with the same experience, education, and number of years of service and did the woman have all the same criteria? Because when you actually compare side-to-side, they actually get more than the men.” When asked about Mississippi’s personhood amendment that would criminalize common forms of birth control, he said “I believe that life begins at…inception.”
• Representative Tom McMillin was asked what he would say to a woman who was raped but had not purchased rape insurance, and he replied that he was “sure that there is people who can help her.”
• Representative Martin Howrylak said of bringing the Mississippi personhood amendment to Michigan: “morally that’s where I am; legally that’s where we should be.”
• Representative Peter Pettalia voiced his opposition to equal pay legislation by saying, “I wouldn’t support that” and later claimed he couldn’t understand why Republicans are painted as anti-women.
• Senator Patrick Colbeck was asked if he supported the Mississippi personhood amendment in Michigan and replied, “yeah, I’m all for it” and “would love anything we could do in that vein to get [it] going.”
• State House Candidate Jason Sheppard said equal pay legislation “creates huge problems” and would actually discriminate against men.
• State House Candidate Holly Hughes was asked if she supported the so-called “rape insurance” bill replying, “I can support that; I’m pro-life.”
In New Disclosures, Republicans Say They Want to Make Birth Control A Crime, Deny Equal Pay for Women is Even a Problem— MI Democratic Party (@MichiganDems) Sep. 29th 2014
DETROIT - Today Michigan Democrats released the following statement in response to Republican Govs. Rick Snyder and Chris Christie visiting Detroit:
"It shouldn't be surprising that Snyder is campaigning with the ethically challenged Chris Christie, since the Snyder Administration is awash in scandal," said Garrett Arwa, Michigan Democratic Party Executive Director. "From an Aramark employee under investigation for trying to arrange a prisoner's murder, to disgraced Scott Woosley's spending spree on the public dime, to Snyder's cousin's furniture contract, it's clear Rick Snyder's administration is only interested in doing what's best for their family and political friends. Michigan needs leaders who will work to build a state that works for everyone."
NOTE: Photos of protestors outside Snyder & Christie's private events at Urban Bean and the Detroit Athletic Club are available upon request.
Democrats Respond to Snyder, Christie Visit to Detroit— MI Democratic Party (@MichiganDems) Sep. 26th 2014
LANSING - Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson today called for an investigation into a group called the "Michigan Jobs & Labor Foundation," a supposedly independent nonprofit organization that has recently begun airing ads in support of Republicans running for the Michigan Senate. Several of the organization’s ads contained explicit advocacy messages in support of the candidates, a potential violation of the group’s nonprofit status, and further investigation of the organization revealed that it is likely being run directly out of the offices of the Michigan Senate Republican Campaign Committee.
"The information that’s already been uncovered about this organization has raised serious questions about whether the Michigan Senate Republicans are flagrantly violating Michigan's campaign laws," said Johnson. "There is seemingly no reasonable explanation as to why the phone number for this organization that’s listed on file with the IRS is the same phone number used by the Senate Republicans' campaign committee. I would expect both the state and the IRS to follow up immediately with a thorough investigation into this organization's finances so the people of Michigan can know the truth."
In 2012, the Michigan Jobs & Labor Foundation filed a 990 form with the IRS listing 517-371-2006 as the organization's telephone number. That phone number is the same one publicly listed for the Michigan Senate Republican Campaign Committee.
The Jobs & Labor Foundation has since pulled the questionable ads from broadcast as well as their YouTube page. Johnson stated that he would be filing a formal complaint with Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s office as well as the IRS.
Dems Call for Investigation into Phony Republican Nonprofit— MI Democratic Party (@MichiganDems) Sep. 25th 2014
LANSING - The Michigan Democratic Party today is proud to announce that the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, will be campaigning in Michigan for Gary Peters for U.S. Senate and Mark Schauer for Governor.
"We are honored to have the First Lady come to Michigan and highlight how the future of our middle class is at stake here this November," said Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair. "Mark and Gary have proven track records of fighting for good jobs - from standing up to save the auto industry to calling for a higher minimum wage - and they are the only candidates Michigan middle class families can trust. The First Lady has been a tremendous advocate for our middle class families and veterans, and we look forward to having her in Michigan."
More details regarding the First Lady’s visit will be forthcoming.
First Lady Michelle Obama to Campaign for Michigan Democrats— MI Democratic Party (@MichiganDems) Sep. 25th 2014
LANSING – The Michigan Democratic Party today called for an IRS investigation into Republican Terri Lynn Land using her family charity, World Mission, as an extension of her campaign. Democrats held a press conference outside the World Mission store in Lansing, where news reports show the charity trying to recruit supporters with Land’s campaign yard signs. As a tax-exempt organization, the IRS prohibits World Mission from advocating for candidates. MDP also sent the complaint to the Michigan Treasury, per an IRS suggestion.
Land refuses to answer serious concerns from independent experts about her charity. Her unwillingness to tell Michiganders the truth and hide in a bunker is nothing new:
"Michiganders are fed up with Republican Terri Lynn Land continuing to potentially break the law to further her political ambition as she refuses to answer serious questions from independent experts. Now, independent experts are raising concerns that Land is using her charity, World Mission, as an extension of her campaign which violates IRS law," said Kevin McAlister, Michigan Democratic Party Senior Communications Advisor. "Michiganders deserve the truth from Ms. Land - on her charity, her potentially illegal self-funding, and her business experience - but she refuses to answer straightforward questions, so MDP is calling for an IRS investigation into Land’s charity. With less than six weeks until Election Day, Ms. Land needs to stop hiding in her bunker and start addressing the controversies swirling around her."
The Huffington Post recently examined World Mission and Land’s close ties to the charity. Then, the Arab American News noted that World Mission promotes intolerance by calling Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists "obstacles" that must be overcome to spread Christianity.
World Mission is run by Land’s father, husband, and brother in law – all owners of the family’s business, Land & Company. Land & Co. got tax breaks by loaning millions to World Mission, in addition to office space, supplies, and carpeting. MDP has also learned that World Mission outsourced to China the production of talking Bibles in 2003. The group, financed by Land's family, uses the Bibles to reach non-Christians.
Michigan Democrats Call for IRS Investigation Into Terri Lynn Land Using Her Charity as Extension of Campaign— MI Democratic Party (@MichiganDems) Sep. 24th 2014
Charity Problems Pile Up for Land Who Won’t Put Controversies to Rest
LANSING – Republican Terri Lynn Land refuses to answer questions about her family’s charity, World Mission, as she faces another barrage of independent experts raising serious concerns about her potentially breaking campaign finance laws. Even though the charity is prohibited from advocating for candidates because it’s tax-exempt, Land is skirting the law and recruiting supporters through World Mission with yard signs. The Huffington Post recently examined World Mission and Land’s close ties to the charity. Then, the Arab American News that World Mission promotes intolerance by calling Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists "obstacles" that must be overcome to spread Christianity.
Now, the Michigan Democratic Party has learned that Land’s charity, World Mission, outsourced to China the production of talking Bibles in 2003. The group, financed by Land's family, uses the Bibles to reach non-Christians.
Land refuses to answer basic questions about the group that is run by her father, husband, and brother in law – all owners of the family’s business, Land & Company. Land & Co. got tax breaks by loaning millions to World Mission, in addition to office space, supplies, and carpeting. Land denies ever working at Land & Co, despite listing herself 15 times as an owner of the company on donations she made to her campaign.
"Terri Lynn Land doesn’t think she plays by the same rules as everyone else even as independent experts are raising serious questions about her family’s charity potentially breaking the law to illegally support her campaign. Now, it comes out that Land’s charity outsourced from China while getting tax breaks,” said Kevin McAlister, MDP Senior Communications Advisor. “Add Land’s intolerant charity to the list of things she refuses to tell Michiganders the truth about – potentially self-funding $3 million illegally, her business experience with Land & Company, and her 2.2 percent tax rate as a multi-millionaire."
World Mission Received 10,000 Copies Of An Audio Bible That Was Manufactured In China. “Christian missionaries from Michigan have teamed up with others in California to develop a talking Bible they hope will win over illiterate people around the world. Wyoming-based World Mission recently received the first 10,000 copies of a black and gold device that looks like a traditional Bible. But, once a button is pushed, it plays all 27 hours of the New Testament through a small speaker embedded in the front cover. The ‘Talking Bible’ was manufactured in China.” [Associated Press, 5/15/03]
Terri Lynn Land’s Intolerant Family Charity Outsourced from China— MI Democratic Party (@MichiganDems) Sep. 22nd 2014
Michigan Middle Class Alliance Focuses on Accountability
LANSING - Michigan’s middle-class families have a voice and a new way to hold elected officials accountable in an interactive web site, Michigan Middle Class Alliance, that documents how extreme Republican policies are hurting middle class families and schools, even as they are helping people at the top.
The website - MiddleclassMichigan.com - launched today by the Michigan Democratic Party, provides research-based information for Michiganders to learn how the Republicans’ $1 billion in cuts to Michigan schools and a $1.4 billion tax shift are holding the state’s economy back and undermining the future for Michigan’s middle class families. Moreover, the site explores the scandal-ridden administration of Gov. Rick Snyder and exposes GOP policies that take aim at women’s health and pocketbooks and how they are being carried as banners by extreme ideological Republican lawmakers.
"The Michigan Middle Class Alliance is fighting for good jobs and a fair economy that works for all of us, not just the wealthy and well connected,” said Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair. "We do that by empowering people with the research, facts and analysis they need to create accountable government and accountable leaders who put Michigan families first."
Michigan Middle Class Alliance also provides ways for people to take action, a TipLine to provide information on government abuse within the Snyder administration, and gives people a fun opportunity to weigh in on questions like, "Why Won’t Rick Snyder Debate?"
Writing for the Michigan Middle Class Alliance site, retired teacher Joann Peterson of Grand Rapids invites other retirees hit hard by the Snyder retiree tax to share their stories.
"As senior citizens we worked hard to earn peace of mind in retirement, and trust our leaders to honor their promises," said Peterson. "But when Rick Snyder and Republican lawmakers raised our property taxes and created a heavy new tax on our retirement they broke that promise and things changed, and not for the better."
The site will keep information current with developments and the changing issue landscape in Michigan.
New Website Takes Aim At Michigan Republican Policies That Hurt Families, Women, Retirees— MI Democratic Party (@MichiganDems) Sep. 22nd 2014
Dorothy spent last Thursday evening at one of our Detroit offices calling Michigan voters to discuss the important issues at stake in the November election. She was joined by many other women, most of whom spend every Thursday evening on the phones at our weekly Women to Women phonebanks that happen all over the state.
Dorothy is dedicating evenings and weekends to volunteer for Michigan Democrats because the upcoming election is crucial. “Democrats need to be successful. For the elderly, healthcare and Social Security are very important, and we can’t afford to have Rick Snyder in office for another four years if those programs are going to survive.”
“There are a lot of unhappy people in Michigan because we feel like we’ve been deceived by Rick Snyder and the state legislature,” Dorothy said recalling the difficult losses Democrats had in Michigan in 2010.
We are incredibly thankful for Dorothy’s support and commitment to the campaign. Winning isn’t possible without dedicated volunteers like her.
Are you ready to join our team? Click here to volunteer.
Volunteer Spotlight: Dorothy is Dialing for Democrats— MI Democratic Party (@MichiganDems) Sep. 21st 2014
LANSING - The Michigan Democratic Party's Muslim Democratic Caucus today condemned Republican Terri Lynn Land and her family’s charity for promoting intolerance. The group financed by Land's family calls Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists "obstacles" that must be overcome to spread Christianity.
The Huffington Post this week examined the Lands' World Mission, which shares the same location as Land's Senate Campaign office.
Despite clear ties to World Mission, Land has refused to answer key questions on her relationship with the group or how Land has been taking charitable tax breaks while supporting World Mission with millions of dollars.
"It is extremely offensive that Terri Lynn Land would see the Muslim community as inferior and an obstacle to be overcome. How does she expect to represent Michigan's diverse communities in Washington when she and her family are getting tax breaks to promote intolerance around the world?" asked Dr. Shahid Tahir. "Ms. Land's silence about her personal contributions and tax breaks to this divisive charity are unacceptable and wrong. We believe that Michiganders deserve to hear an explanation."
Michigan Muslim Democratic Caucus Condemns Terri Lynn Land for Promoting Intolerance— MI Democratic Party (@MichiganDems) Sep. 18th 2014
Democrats file complaint with HUD Inspector General following new information showing textbook example of conflict of interest in Snyder Administration
Blind eye from Governor allowed Woosley to oversee major grant to Woosley’s company
LANSING - Gov. Snyder’s administration allowed disgraced former MSHDA Director Scott Woosley to oversee a state agency while it was providing more than $1 million in government funding to Woosley’s private real estate consulting firm - contrary to Woosley’s public statements to the media.
This conflict of interest potentially violated federal law and continued for months, all while Woosley and his top staff racked up more than $200,000 in controversial travel expenses.
Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson filed a complaint today with HUD Inspector General David A. Montoya that documents potential conflict of interest and the misuse of federal funds.
Documents obtained by MDP show that at the time that Gov. Snyder named Woosley to the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority in May of 2012, Woosley’s firm Labor-Management Fund Advisors (LMFA) was receiving $1,042,538 in federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant funds. In that role, Woosley would have been responsible for administering those funds, at the time he was hired as executive director of the agency four months later.
While MSHDA director, Woosley was ultimately responsible for ensuring that LMFA was using the grant money properly and fulfilling its agreements with MSHDA. Federal conflict of interest rules forbid government officials from administering programs in which they have a financial interest.
MSHDA grant funding continued to flow to Woosley’s company for 10 months, during which time Woosley continued acting as Managing Director of LMFA. Further, as he stated to the Detroit News, he "continued to share in the profits while working for the state.” At the same time, Woosley was living a high-flying lifestyle that led to his resignation in disgrace, in the wake of disclosures of more than $200,000 in travel spending abuses involving Woosley and other MSHDA staff.
"The Snyder Administration either permitted or turned a blind eye to a major conflict of interest involving the head of his housing agency, whose private real estate company was receiving over a million dollars in tax payer money,” said Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair. "Federal conflict of interest laws exist to protect taxpayers from exactly the kind of abuse that is rampant in the Snyder administration. When Snyder and his administration ignore rules designed to protect the public, they betray the public trust. People like Scott Woosley that have major conflicts of interest and stand to benefit financially from their appointment should never be placed in charge of a state agency responsible for stewardship of hundreds of millions of public dollars.”
At the time Snyder appointed Woosley to the Fast Track Land Bank Authority, there was no mention of the fact that Woosley’s firm was receiving substantial federal funding through the State of Michigan, something the Snyder Administration would clearly have known. When he was later appointed to head MSHDA, Snyder praised Woosley as the “right choice,” and Woosley pledged to distance himself from LMFA. But neither Snyder, Woosley nor any member of MSHDA’s board - including its chair, who is Snyder’s State Treasurer - disclosed the conflict of interest between Woosley’s role as administrator of a government program that was funding a company that Woosley was benefiting from financially. MSHDA has also not disclosed whether it sought or was granted a waiver on the conflict of interest from HUD prior to hiring Woosley, something Democrats demanded to know.
Registration documents filed with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs in 2012, 2013, and 2014 list Woosley as the resident agent for LMFA and bear Woosley’s signature. While serving as MSHDA’s executive director, Woosley was also listed on LMFA’s web site as the company’s managing partner. Government documents show that not only did Woosley retain financial ties to LMFA while the company was receiving funds from MSHDA, but also show that MSHDA employees were actually assisting Woosley in his continued managing partner role with LMFA, keeping a calendar of LMFA appointments for Woosley.
At the time that Woosley’s travel spending was being questioned, he falsely told the Detroit News that his company “has no business with the state or MSHDA” and that LMFA’s work wasn’t focused on Michigan.
There is little doubt that Snyder’s appointment of Woosley to the Land Bank Authority and Woosley’s subsequent hiring as MSHDA director created a conflict of interest under federal rules.
Woosley Situation a Textbook Example of a Conflict of Interest
A HUD training presentation prepared by HUD’s Region VIII General Counsel, Ellen Dole, offers an example of a classic conflict of interest in HUD-funded programs that parallels the hiring of Woosley by Gov. Snyder.
In the HUD example of a conflict of interest, a theoretical State Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) hires ABC Associates to administer a Homebuyer Assistance Program funded with HUD HOME funds. John is the President and partner of ABC Associates and also serves as the Executive Director of SHFC.
“Is this a conflict of interest under Part 85 [of the Code of Federal Regulations]?” the training presentation asks.
“Answer: Yes. John has a financial interest in the firm hired to administer the program.”
In 2008, the State of Michigan was awarded the HUD grant in the amount of $97,964,416.00 to fund MSHDA’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). The grant document lists LMFA as a recipient of $1,042,538.68 in funds under the grant. The document projected that LMFA would receive funds through late 2012. Documents show that LMFA was still drawing down funds under the HUD grant in 2013, with $15,519.00 drawn down between January 1, 2013 and March 31, 2013 - more than ten months after Mr. Woosley was appointed to the Land Bank board by Snyder, and five months after he was appointed as Executive Director of MSHDA.
NOTE: A research memo with supporting documentation is available upon request.
Fox Guarding Hen House at MSHDA— MI Democratic Party (@MichiganDems) Sep. 18th 2014
Is Rich Baird dodging the pension tax he helped create?
LANSING - Michigan Democrats today called on Gov. Snyder to direct his senior advisor Richard Baird to release credible proof to determine whether Baird, one of the architects of the governor’s new retiree tax, is failing to pay Michigan taxes on substantial pension income.
Baird, who was forced last month to pay nearly $17,000 in Michigan property taxes following public disclosure that he claimed simultaneous tax breaks on homes in Michigan and Illinois, is potentially eligible for an estimated $170,000 a year pension provided by PricewaterhouseCoopers, where in 2010 he retired as a senior executive after 17 years with the nation’s fifth-largest accounting firm.
"There are just too many unanswered questions about whether Richard Baird is continuing to play fast and loose on taxes," said Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair. "Gov. Snyder owes it to the tens of thousands of retirees who are paying the Snyder retiree tax to assure them that his chief advisor and the architect of the pension tax is paying the income taxes to Michigan that he owes and isn’t a hypocrite."
The only way to do that, said Johnson, is for the governor to have Richard Baird publicly disclose whether he has substantial pension income and whether he is paying income taxes on it like every other Michigan retiree like him with a pension. In an interview last year with Crain’s Detroit Business, Baird described himself as a key champion of the Snyder retiree tax, recounting that he was challenged by Snyder Chief of Staff Dennis Muchmore, who was skeptical of the plan and worried that if implemented the pension tax would cost Snyder his re-election in 2014.
Baird moved to Michigan from Illinois in 2011, bought a home in Bath, started a Michigan business and was appointed by Snyder as Transformation Manager, with a $140,000 salary and an office in the governor’s executive suite. In a 2014 affidavit on file with the Clinton County Clerk, Baird swore an oath as a Republican precinct delegate candidate that he has been a resident of the county for three years. The Snyder administration says Baird lives in Michigan about five days a week. Baird’s Michigan residency subjects any pension income he might have to Michigan’s new pension tax - a law that went into effect in 2012 after being pushed through by Snyder and Republican lawmakers and championed by Baird.
After it was disclosed in August that Baird wasn’t paying full property taxes in both Michigan and Illinois, Baird relinquished his claim that both his Bath home and Illinois house were was his primary residences, retaining his Illinois homestead exemption. That raised the possibility that while Baird still met all the requirements for Michigan residency, he might be using his Illinois house to shelter his substantial pension income since unlike Michigan, Illinois does not tax pension income on retirees.
There are a number of possibilities involving Baird’s pension benefits from Price Waterhouse Cooper, said Johnson, including that he is legally sheltering the money through an annuity or other long-term, deferred-income investment option.
"It seems clear that Richard Baird was eligible as a top executive with a national accounting firm for a substantial pension when he left in 2010," said Johnson. "We need to know if the man who was quarterbacking the Snyder retiree tax took himself out of the game when it came time to pay his own pension taxes."
The PricewaterhouseCoopers pension plan itself is the subject of a lawsuit by former employees who say the pension plan was illegal because of an investment scheme that benefited senior executives like Baird at the expense of other employees.
Snyder Retirement Tax Architect’s Pension Questioned— MI Democratic Party (@MichiganDems) Sep. 15th 2014
All Kerry Bentivolio wants for Christmas is…to impeach President Obama?