Michigan — June 23, 2011 at 6:51 am

GOP House Speaker Bolger running scared from recall effort, sics lawyers on recall petition filer


NOTE: This story has been updated HERE.

How do you know when you have a Republican on the run? When they are so frightened of being recalled that they use every legal harassment technique in the book. And, right now, Representative Jase Bolger, the Speaker of the House from Michigan’s 63rd District, is running very scared. So scared, in fact, that he’s not above siccing his lawyer on a young disabled woman exercising her right to petition her government.

Autumn Smith filed recall paperwork against Jase Bolger in May of this year. She quickly amended the language and resubmitted it and there was a clarity hearing on May 25th. You can view the video of that hearing HERE. Around the 5:30 mark, Autumn makes charges of conflict of interest on the commission. Later in the video, around 25:35, the Calhoun County Treasurer loses her shit and proceeds to explain why it’s perfectly okay for her to be a political contributor to Speaker Bolger and Representative Nofs and still sit on the clarity hearing commission. The commission holds Autumn to a strict 5 minute speaking limit but allows Bolger’s attorney to speak for nearly 15 minutes.

After they denied the petition language she first submitted, Autumn submitted six additional versions. The hearing for those is a clown show of epic proportions. The commission seems confused by having to consider more than one version and doesn’t understand that, if more than one were approved, Autumn would simply choose one and discard the others. You can see the videos for this hearing HERE and HERE.

Two of Autumn’s petition language submissions were eventually accepted. Access to the videos was obtained only after Autumn threatened to file Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. She would have made her own video but the County moved the venue to the courthouse where video and audio taping are not allowed. They then had the audacity to demand $500 payment for a transcript. Autumn eventually prevailed against the legal headwind

The final clarity hearing for the petition language that Autumn selected was supposed to be today. However, yesterday, Autumn received a phone call from a member of the media asking for a response to the Temporary Restraining Order that had been filed to prevent the hearing from going forward. This was news to Autumn who had actually not yet received notice of the cancellation. Why did this happen? Because the official manner in which this urgent and official government news was conveyed to her was by email. While she did eventually receive the email, it was only AFTER the media. Thankfully for her, it didn’t end up in her spam box!

Here’s the email. I have removed the email addresses of all recipients except those of the media. You will see that the Elections Specialist Teri Loew seemed to be very interested that the media be notified of what was transpiring.

Date: Wed, 22 Jun 2011 16:39:53 -0400
From: [email protected]tymi.gov
To: [personal and professional emails deleted][email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]

Subject: 6.23.2011 Clarity Hearing URGENT

This serves as notification that the June 23, 2011 Clarity Hearing regarding the Bolger Recall language has been canceled due to a TRO (temporary restraining order) filed in the 37th Circuit Court this afternoon.

Order granting temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction:

It is hereby ordered that the (Calhoun County) Election Commission is enjoined and restrained from accepting or approving petitions submitted by the Petitioner seeking to recall the Representative (James P. Bolger) until further notice of this Court.

It is further ordered that this Order shall become effective upon entry with the Court and shall remain in full force and effect until the hearing to Show Cause as to Why an Injunction Should Not Issue scheduled for July 1, 2011, 11:00 am, Courtroom 474, unless otherwise ordered by the Court.

Allen Garbrecht for Conrad Sindt, Circuit Court Judge

For questions call Mr. Gary Gordon (Jase Bolger’s attorney) at 517.374.9133 or Calhoun County Legal Council Mr. Richard Lindsey at 269.781.0917.


Teri Loew
Calhoun County Election Specialist
Phone: 269-781-0988; Fax: 269-781-0703;
Email: [email protected]

Make Freedom Count, VOTE !

Keep in mind that this happened yesterday afternoon — the day before the hearing. Autumn did not receive a phone call. She did not receive a certified letter. She was not informed via courier. The County Clerk’s office notified her that her hearing the next day was cancelled due to legal action by Speaker Bolger BY EMAIL!!!

Speaker of the House Jase Bolger is running very scared. The last thing he wants is to face a recall — a vote by his constituents to remove him from office. He knows that Republican overreach in Michigan has people from across the political spectrum outraged. It’s not just Democrats that are angry now. Republicans, and even tea partiers, are waking up to just how egregious their actions are. Bolger knows full well that his days are numbered if he is forced to face a recall.

So, his response is to legally harass Autumn Smith. Autumn is disabled and without an attorney. She has had no legal help during this entire process yet has eloquently defended her position every step of the way. She’s smart, she’s savvy, and she’s determined. The best that Bolger can conjure up is to pay high-dollar lawyers to throw every road block they can in front of Autumn, hoping to wear her down, tire her out, and deplete her bank account.

The next hearing is July 1st. If you are an attorney willing to provide pro bono legal advice to Autumn to help her fight this offensive attempt to stop her from exercising her constitutionally-protected right to file for a recall of her elected representative, please contact me immediately. This is not just an affront to Autumn. It’s an affront to every Michigander. If her rights are trampled in this instance by a fearful, frightened, but very rich man who can afford the best lawyers money can buy, then all of our rights have been abridged. We must stop this now.

UPDATE: Here’s reporting from the Battle Creek Inquirer:

A Calhoun County judge has temporarily halted part of an effort to recall Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger.

Circuit Court Judge Allen Garbrecht granted a preliminary injunction Wednesday, stopping a meeting of the Calhoun County Election Commission from considering new recall language against Bolger, R-Marshall, scheduled for today.

Bolger’s attorney, Gary Gordon, also filed an appeal on the commission’s decision last week approving two recall statements submitted by Emmett Township resident Autumn Smith, Bolger spokesman Ari Adler said Wednesday.


Gary Gordon, an attorney for Bolger, has argued that because Smith’s recall language is unclear, Bolger cannot adequately respond, and that having multiple petitions circulating adds to the confusion.

Adler said that having yet another petition approved would compound the confusion for voters.

Smith has said she planned to gather signatures on just one of the approved petitions…

After the election commission rejected Smith’s initial recall language, she submitted six new statements. Two of those were approved last week. Smith then immediately filed a new statement in order to fix issues that could be raised in an appeal.

  • winterinthehinterland

    This tactic is very similar to what was employed by Wisconsin, Waukesha County Clerk, Kathy Nickolaus when she announced the vote count error during the Kloppenburg/Prosser judicial election in April.  Instead of reporting her error through the appropriate channels to the election authorities she delayed notification and held a press conference to make the announcement instead.

  • Susan Dailey

    I am so appreciative of Autumn doing this and the effort to take down the EFM law which, as far as I’m concerned, attempts to destroy democracy.  I also wanted to mention the campaign for recall Governor Snyder.  Below is a recent statement asking for volunteers and donations. Please pass this along if you choose to.  Best/S

    -“The campaign to Recall Governor Rick Snyder has petition signing events springing up all over Michigan.  Those who have signed up to volunteer are enjoying tremendous success in getting signatures.  So much so that they
    can’t keep up. So, we are asking for more volunteers to join us.  We also need additional inancial help.   We very much appreciate the generosity and hard work thatpeople have demonstrated thus far, buy we do need additional support.

    If you want to volunteer, please visit http://www.firericksnyder.org and sign up.If you want to donate, you may also do that on their site using the ActBlue link.Thank you.”

  • kirke123

    shouldn’t ambers attorney be the attorney for the township? they are the ones who are to protect the laws?
    big mistake for the man to go angainst the disabled. i hope the news will have a hay day with this, and attorneys will line up to help? how about jeffery figer?

  • 220janed220

    Why keep referring to her as “disabled”?  Sympathy ploy? What do her disabilities have to do with the situation at hand?  Unless, of course, this is one of those instances where it is convenient to mention physical/social/racial status… Because, obviously this piece is not slanted at all!

    • Because disabled people are generally living on a shoestring budget and unable to fight withering legal battles meant to drain bank accounts. Get it NOW?

    • I agree, it felt like a sympathy play to me when I read the article, too.  

  • MichMan

    The ACLU is usually willing and able to take on cases where someone’s civil rights are being threatened by people abusing their power. In this case, the uneven way the process has proceeded, where House Speaker Bolger is getting more support from the legal system, looks like a prime case for the ACLU.

  • BolgerPetitioner

    This is what I have been informed of regarding other people who have tried to contact the ACLU: “the ACLU is not equipped to act rapidly, even if they wanted to. For them to get a volunteer attorney assigned, a case has to be referred to a local branch committee, approved, recommended upward, etc., which can take weeks. In my experience, they generally will not be very interested in a case where the “victim” is a political activist, even if it represents a State Constitutional right being violated.  I have not been able to get them onboard for much more egregious situations involving election rigging and voter list purging! Their state legal director is very unwilling to take any political risks and has told me so.” 

    Thanks to those who support this recall!

  • RichardLake

    This is the best webpage I know of about this attack by Bolger on the legal recall process in Michigan.

    He is clearly scared to let the people vote on the question of recalling him. 

    I hope a good lawyer will support our side.  We have time.  We can not get enough signatures in time for the November, 2011 ballot, but we can for the August, 2012 ballot. Support for this recall will only continue to grow!

    Petitions Are or Will Be Circulating Soon to Recall These Members of the Michigan Legislature:

    Nancy Jenkins

    John R. Moolenaar

    James “Jase” Bolger

    Joel Johnson

    Howard Walker

    Tom Casperson

    Kevin Cotter

    Randy Richardville

    Bruce Caswell

    Mike Shirkey

    Mike Nofs

    Phil Potvin

    John Proos

    Al Pscholka

    Arlan Meekhof







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