Rick Snyder’s “Said it, did it” mantra unravels as he signs expansion of dark money in Michigan elections into law

More like “Didn’t say it, did it anyway” or “Said it, did the opposite”


Eclectameme by Anne C. Savage for Eclectablog

Discussing possible campaign slogans during his non-announcement of his candidacy last fall, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder said, “One that I really do appreciate, that I’ve used in my life is, ‘Said it. Did it.’”. In other words, according to him, he says he’s going to do something and, by golly, he goes right out and does it.

This, of course, doesn’t explain his “Didn’t say it, did it anyway” approach to things like kneecapping labor unions by making Michigan a right to work (for less) state or raising taxes on more than half of all Michiganders or paying for a nearly $2 billion corporate tax cut by cutting funds for the education of our children and taxing the pensions of senior citizens or eliminating the earned income tax credit for the working poor or eliminating tax breaks for charitable giving or disenfranchising over half of Michigan’s African Americans by putting their cities under the rule of an unelected dictator.

It also doesn’t explain his latest move which can only be described as “Said it, did the opposite”.

Today, Gov. Snyder signed legislation into law that expands the amount of dark money that will influence elections in Michigan and helps hide the sources of that money. In a time when there is a groundswell for more transparency and less money from corporations and wealthy individuals in our elections, Michigan Republicans, with the help of our governor, are going in the opposite direction.

Gov. Rick Snyder said today he has signed a controversial bill doubling campaign donor limits and protecting the secrecy of “issue ad” donors.

Although it includes a provision designed to thwart an effort by Secretary of State Ruth Johnson to reveal who pays for issue ads that have becoming increasingly influential in Michigan political campaigns, Snyder said in a news release the legislation will “bring an unprecedented level of transparency and openness to the state’s political system.”

The Orwellian statement at the end is nothing short of a breathtaking lie.

The move to thwart Johnson’s effort to require more transparency is something that I’ve written about before:

This is week in a somewhat surprising move, Republican Secretary of State Ruth Johnson proposed a rule to require transparency in the funding of so-called “issue ads” that don’t promote specific candidates. Millions and millions of dollars are spent every election cycle on these ads which are, more often than not, nothing more than thinly-veiled ads for one candidate over another.

Republicans in the Senate were having none of it, however, and quickly amended a “campaign finance reform” bill, Senate Bill 661, to quash her move. The original bill, which actually DOUBLES the amount of money that can be given to candidates or political party caucuses in exchange for additional reporting requirements was changed to exempt “expenditure[s] for communication on a subject or issue if the communication does not support or oppose a ballot question or candidate by name or clear inference.” This language was not in the original bill.

So, not only are they INCREASING the amount of money in our elections by a factor of two, they are keeping much of it hidden.

Because that’s how Michigan Republicans roll.

Gov. Snyder’s move today is also exactly the opposite of what he said he stood for in his 2010 campaign. During the campaign, he released a white paper titled “Create A Culture Of Ethics In Michigan’s Government” (pdf). Here’s a snippet:

Michigan’s campaign finance system has glaring deficiencies that can be easily exploited to create an environment where a limited number of well-financed special interests could easily dominate the financial landscape of political campaigns. Michigan needs to take deliberate steps to prevent a statewide culture of corruption from developing…Michigan needs to reform campaign finance laws to close loopholes that exacerbate the cost of elections. To meet the standards currently practiced by the federal government and 47 other states, Michigan also needs to improve personal financial disclosure of elected and senior state-appointed officials. [...]

All electioneering communications – broadcast, printed, and telephonic – that feature the name or image of a candidate for public office or ballot initiative should be considered expenditures subject to appropriate disclosure requirements. [...]

Rick Snyder is the only person who can create a new culture of ethical behavior and transparency in Michigan government. He is the only candidate that has not developed his professional acumen in Michigan’s dysfunctional political culture. Rick has spent his entire career improving organizations, creating, achieving, and reporting performance measurements to stockholders, customers and business partners. He understands what it takes to overcome broken practices and he has the leadership and vision to make Michigan more accountable to its citizens.

As you read through the white paper and then contrast it to the legislation that he signed into law today, it’s clear that nothing he says during his campaign can be trusted. He literally did exactly the opposite of what he said needs to be done to solve the vexing problem of wealthy individuals, special interest groups, and corporations controlling our elections.

Michigan Democratic Party chair Lon Johnson describes it this way:

Once again, Republican Gov. Snyder has proven he is only interested in taking care of the wealthy and the well-connected. Michiganders want elected leaders who will focus on investing in our schools and communities – not more handouts and favors for wealthy special interests. Michigan’s middle-class families need a governor who is on their side.

If you aren’t convinced yet that this governor is a corporatist dedicated to ensuring the expansion of power of the wealthy and of corporations, this should be enough to convince you. It’s not something that Americans want. It’s not something that Michiganders want. In fact, it’s not even something Rick Snyder wants. At least not the Rick Snyder who ran for office in 2010. Then again, the Rick Snyder who ran in 2010 isn’t a real person. He’s a being concocted by an ad agency to say what their focus groups tell them people want to hear.

The last thing he is is a “nerd”.

Rick Snyder says he is proud of his record, that he “said it and did it”. Fortunately for us, there’s plenty of evidence to show just how big a lie that is.

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  • Phil

    I’m not too concerned with increasing campaign contribution limits – I think I read that only 19 people in Michigan maxed them out last election cycle. My real concern are the anonymous donors to all the various categories of political giving. If I was a state legislator, I would have been willing to trade increased limits for identifying all political donors (above a reasonable, two-digit amount.) But then, we don’t know if any of that kind of horse trading went on or was even discussed among the Ds.

  • judyms9

    Imagine what could be accomplished with just half the money that goes into politics. And what happens when the investment bubble in politics bursts?

  • Pingback: Mother Jones exposé shows how Michigan’s right to work law was bought and paid for by the DeVos family | Eclectablog

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