Michigan Republicans — July 20, 2012 at 10:47 am

Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger should resign. NOW. – Updated


You call that “Leadership”? That’s not leadership, that’s corruption.

[Updated below.]

After the incredible revelation that House Speaker Jase Bolger conspired with Representative Roy Schmidt to commit blatant and disgusting election fraud in May, it’s now time for him to step down as the so-called “leader” of the House. No group can be called legitimate that has at its head someone so clearly corrupt and fraudulent as Jase Bolger has proven himself to be.

He doesn’t deny doing what he did. He simply says that it’s okay because it was legal.

Nobody else believes that.

Michigan Democratic Party chair Mark Brewer is calling for his resignation, saying:

Join us in calling for Speaker Bolger to resign as Speaker of the House. Contact your State Representative and demand they take action to remove Jase Bolger as House Speaker.

The Speaker of the House is not just the leader of the Republican caucus; he decides what bills come up for votes, who gets to speak on the House floor, and which Representatives get committee assignments. He has an obligation to protect the integrity of the State House, and he has proven himself to be untrustworthy at best and criminal at worst. The Detroit Free Press writes that as Speaker, “getting involved in dirty tricks is beneath his position. And getting involved in dirty tricks that directly defraud voters is unconscionable.”

Jase Bolger is unfit to lead the Michigan House of Representatives. Contact your State Representative today to demand that Bolger is removed as Speaker.

If you live in Michigan, you can find your representative’s website HERE and contact them via email or phone.

Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer is calling for his resignation, as well. She said in a statement:

They knew what they were doing. They knew it was wrong. They lied about it. And even now that it’s become public, they still refuse to accept the consequences.

For Speaker Bolger, this has become an all too common pattern of behavior in which he puts what’s best for himself and his party ahead of what’s best for Michigan and its people. He played an instrumental role in passing redistricting legislation that was designed specifically to help Republicans win a majority on the Oakland County Commission. He has spent eighteen months pushing bills through the Capitol that attack unions, teachers and middle class families while giving billions of tax dollars away to his corporate and special interest donors. Most recently, he talked about the urgency of passing voter ID laws that he claimed were critical to ensuring the integrity in our elections, only highlighting now the hypocrisy of his leadership. {…}

Leadership is about taking responsibility and being accountable when things under your control go awry. In this case, regardless of whether charges are ultimately filed, we know that one of Michigan’s highest ranking leaders engaged in unethical and fraudulent behavior, putting personal politics above the good of Michigan and then pathologically lying about it. There is simply too much at stake for our state, our families and our future for his actions to stand in the way of what truly needs to be done to get our state back on track. Therefore, I am calling on Speaker Bolger to immediately step down as Speaker of the House.

I feel strongly that we as elected officials should leave the state in a better place than when we found it when we first got elected. Some of us work hard every single day to make sure that’s true. It’s clear from the Prosecutor’s report that neither Speaker Bolger or Rep. Schmidt can say the same.

I overheard somebody say this morning Jase Bolger didn’t just engage in fraud, he is the fraud.”

House Minority Leader Richard Hammel stopped short of calling for Bolger’s resignation but is asking for a House ethics investigation.

Even the generally conservative Detroit News editorial page has an editorial up titled Bolger, Schmidt embarrass Legislature:

It’s not common, but every now and then a member of the Michigan Legislature switches parties. It’s a big deal for a few days, then everybody gets used to it and moves on. That’s what could have happened with Rep. Roy Schmidt’s desire to leave the Democratic Party and join the House Republican majority, had it not been for a series of incredibly clumsy machinations that have made the Grand Rapids lawmaker and House Speaker Jase Bolger look like the kind of scheming, conniving politicians voters despise.

Bolger’s public embarrassment, not to mention the probability he has snatched defeat from what could have been a one-member gain for his legislative caucus, should cause him to consider whether he can still be an effective leader.

Politics is a form of hardball, but the goal should never be to deprive voters of a fair choice of candidates. {…}

House Republicans now can count themselves in league with Oakland County Democratic leaders who eventually faced prosecution for trying to fool election officials with a slate of fake tea party candidates in 2010. We’ll leave it to Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and Attorney General Bill Schuette to decide if the case at hand also leads to election fraud charges. The episode deserves their full attention.

Another conservative newspaper, the Livingston County Press & Argus, is asking Secretary of State Ruth Johnson to step up and finally do her damn job by investigating this egregious act of election fraud:

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson should immediately conduct an extensive investigation into possible campaign finance violations related to an amateurish and pathetic piece of political gamesmanship orchestrated by Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger and a party-switching Grand Rapids lawmaker.

For one thing, Johnson can affirm her office’s necessary independence by thoroughly examining potential offenses by a fellow Republican officeholder.

Equally important: Sending a message that state lawmakers — particularly the majority Republicans — have to put aside these obnoxious power plays and spend their time on serious governance.

What happened in Grand Rapids was an offensive disregard for the democratic process. {…}

This is more than mischief. It’s a clear disdain for voters, much like the plot by Democratic operatives in Oakland County to forge “tea party” candidates in order to confuse Republican voters.

The Michigan Dems have refiled a complaint with Johnson, giving her an avenue to do the job she neglected to do the first time they filed.

Brewer said the Forsyth report “documents over and over and over again how taxpayer resources were used” during the incident.

“The arrogance demonstrated here is stunning,” Brewer said. “Not only did Speaker Bolger and Roy Schmidt conspire to deny the voters a real choice in November, they used taxpayer dollars to do it.”

Stephen Henderson at the Detroit Free Press cuts to chase:

It’s funny that this scandal broke in such temporal proximity to Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s haughty crusade against nonexistent voter fraud. Armed with evidence that found two illegally registered voters among more than a million searched records, Johnson decided this year to propose all manner of ways to make it tougher for people to register and cast ballots. Gov. Rick Snyder stopped the most egregious of her ideas, which a compliant GOP Legislature had rubber stamped.

But you’d think Johnson would be more exercised about this kind of candidate fraud, right? And what have we heard from her behind the revelations about Schmidt and Bolger? Crickets.

The Republicans in Michigan need to immediately stop making excuses for this offensive behavior and call for their leader to step down. This isn’t something to be brushed off lightly. Given their endless blather about the sanctity of our elections and the need to protect them from fraud, they can start by addressing the most glaring example of it that I have ever seen in Michigan.

Jase Bolger needs to go.

UPDATE: WKZO news is reporting that robocalls from a group calling themselves “GOP Education Network” is making robocalls to Republicans urging them to call their representatives to demand Bolger’s resignation. Mark Brewer denies being involved.

Meanwhile, Bolger is refusing to step down but does concede that he is “very disappointed” in himself. Mighty big of him. Almost like he’s talking about someone else.

House Speaker Jase Bolger said he didn’t lie in May about his role in getting a sham candidate to file as a Democrat for the 76th State House seat.

“I’m very disappointed in myself,” Bolger said in an interview with the Kalamazoo Gazette/MLive. “This is so contrary to what we’re trying to do.” {…}

In Thursday’s interview with the Gazette, Bolger said, “I did not lie.”

“I’m saying I didn’t answer the question,” Bolger said. “I was evasive.”

Just so we’re clear, he didn’t break the law but acted completely unethically to deny Grand Rapids area voters a fair election and he didn’t lie, he was just “evasive”.

Time to step down, Speaker Bolger. You are SO not worthy of your position.