The best government corporatist money can buy
I have confirmation from two independent sources in the Michigan legislature that multi-millionaire Dick DeVos is using the threat of massive financial support for Republican primary opponents of vulnerable Senate Republicans to force them to vote for the bill that would expand the Education Achievement Authority statewide. The same approach was used to peel off recalcitrant House Republicans before they passed the EAA expansion bill last month. If Democrats John Olumba and Harvey Santana had not voted for it, however, they would not have had enough.
According to my sources, DeVos has pledged to fund Republican primary opponents to the tune of $100,000 each. In addition, he would provide the Republican victims of their effort with a list of other wealthy donors who would also support their primary challengers.
This is the same approach that DeVos was reported to have used to force passage of legislation that made Michigan a Right to Work state in during the lame duck session in December of 2012:
In public, Snyder insisted that right-to-work was still not on his agenda. Privately, his aides met with labor and suggested that concessions on other issues would keep the bill off the table. All the while, though, DeVos and his team were furiously whipping the vote. In the weeks before the start of the lame-duck session, DeVos personally called dozens of state lawmakers, pledging his support if the unions threatened recalls or primary challenges.
This isn’t the only DeVos family member engaging in this effort. The Great Lake Education Project, under the direction of Board of Directors member Betsy DeVos (as well as former fake Democrat and for-profit charter school head Cody Bailey) are pledging $1,000,000 toward the same goal:
There will be 8 open seats in the State Senate and 28 open seats in the House of Representatives in Michigan’s 2014 general election. While we’ve experienced positive advances in education reform with the current members of the legislature, we need to be diligent to both defend and expand support in order to accomplish even greater reforms and improve the quality options available to all Michigan students and families.
Our efforts have been focused on, and will remain focused on, supporting candidates that fully embrace education choice and will be advocates for all Michigan students and parents during their service in Lansing. GLEP plans to invest up to $1,000,000 in supporting education reform candidates for the State Senate and House of Representatives in the 2014 election.
While they don’t specifically mention funding primary opponents of those who don’t toe their anti-public education line, the implication is quite clear.
(As a side note, GLEP stole the donkey and elephant images used on their “2014 Campaign” page from caricature artist DonkeyHotey in direct violation of his Creative Commons license which requires attribution and even stripped his watermark signature from the image. They may be wealthy but they aren’t above petty theft, it appears.)
If there was any doubt in your mind that wealthy corporatists are attempting to subvert our democracy and our government, this should dispel that idea. What the Koch brothers are doing nationally, the DeVos family is doing in Michigan to promote their anti-labor, anti-public education corporatist agenda.
They are literally buying our government, one legislator at a time.
It is my hope that Republicans in the Senate will be as offended as the rest of us by this blatant attempt to extort their votes. Anyone who values our American democracy and who values the principals of a representative, one-person/one-vote republic should be outraged at this.
This threat ends next Tuesday, April 22nd at 4:00, the deadline to file paperwork to be on the ballot for the August primary.
[CC image credit: DonkeyHotey | Flickr]