Republican Senator Patrick Colbeck admits Dick DeVos bankrolled Right to Work drive in Michigan

Bra·zen [brey-zuhn], adjective: shameless or impudent

On January 15th, Americans for Prosperity held a “Citizens Watchdog Training” in Warren, Michigan. As usual, the entrance fee was a nominal $10 because he entire event was heavily subsidized and underwritten by the Koch Brothers-funded corporate front group.

At the event, tea party Senator Patrick Colbeck was very forthright in explaining how multimillionaire Dick DeVos and Michigan Republican Chair Ron Weiser bankrolled the effort to make Michigan the country’s 24th Right to Work state.

The event was promoted statewide by various tea party groups and had an all-conservative-star cast of invited speakers:

  • Scott Hagerstrom: AFP-Mi State Director
  • Vinne Vernuccio, Manny Lopez, Lindsey Dodge: Mackinac Center
  • Sen Phil Pavlov, Sen. Pat Colbeck, Rep Tom McMillin, Rep. Mike Shirkey
  • Chris McCoy, Mary Ellen Beatty, Kristen Hawley, Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity’s Citizen Watchdog Team
  • Terry Bowman: President , Union Conservatives
  • Diana Bates: Research Director, Michigan Republican Party
  • Alicia Urbain,Vice President of Government and Legal Affairs, Michigan Association of Public School Academies

In addition to sessions like “Social Media 101: Maximize your Message Online & Facebook/Twitter 101″ and “Blogging Basics”, was one titled “Key Legislative Issues for 2013″ where Colbeck, Rep. Tom McMillin and Rep. Mike Shirkey participated. It was there that Sen. Colbeck took the time to explain how Dick DeVos used his money and influence (“rarefied air”) to help get Right to Work passed. The audio is HERE courtesy of Progress Michigan. You can listen to it using this audio player:

Here is the transcript:

Various bills from the legislator’s perspective are kinda broken into two ingredients: air cover and ground cover. Air cover is financial backing and making sure that we’ve got contributions so that they’ve got enough money to go off and get this group out.

So, air cover is critical and I gotta tell ya, Dick DeVos and Ron Weiser are unsung heroes on this great work, that they were critical on the air cover element and getting us across — and they also opened up doors, frankly, with rarefied air that even Mike didn’t have access to and even I definitely didn’t have access to.

It’s long been suspected that Dick DeVos used his money to influence this effort to crush our unions by running ads, threatening to withhold campaign contributions from Republicans that didn’t obey and to financially help any Republican facing a recall over Right to Work. This brazen admission that he and Weiser did, in fact, use their wealth to influence our government is typical of Republicans: when they are behind closed doors, they actually brag about corrupting our political processes and our government. As Colbeck explains, DeVos and Weiser actually have more power and access than he and Rep. Shirkey have.

Zack Pohl, Executive Director of Progress Michigan, released the following statement:

It’s amazing what Republican politicians will say to Tea Party activists when they think no one is listening. This just confirms what we’ve long suspected, that Gov. Snyder’s so-called Right to Work bill was bought-and-paid for by billionaire CEO Dick DeVos. It’s time for politicians like Snyder and Colbeck to start protecting middle class families, not the special interests.

There you have it, kids: today’s Republicans. Using their wealth and influence to corrupt our elections and our government. Fired up for 2014 yet?

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