Michigan Democrats, Michigan Republicans — August 23, 2012 at 12:08 pm

UPDATED: Dem leaders call for grand jury investigation of Bolger, GOP still support him


This is NOT going away…

Republican State House Speaker Jase Bolger may want the story of his involvement in the biggest election fraud in memory in our state to go away, but it’s not. This week, leaders in the Michigan Democratic Party are calling for a one-person grand jury investigation into possible criminal behavior by the beleaguered and corrupt Republican.

Senate Minority leader Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer want a special investigation into the case of Democrat-turned-Republican State Representative Roy Schmidt.

The Kent County Prosecutor says Schmidt and House Speaker Jase Bolger tried to “perpetrate a fraud” on voters. But he says they didn’t commit any crimes. You can read his full report that was released last month here (pdf).

But Whitmer isn’t so sure. She believes there’s evidence to prove that Schmidt and others conspired to commit perjury and obstructed justice.

“My biggest fear is that people just brush it off as, you know, one of those odious things that happens in the capitol and it’s just not the case. It is very serious,” Whitmer said.

Whitmer and Brewer filed paperwork in Ingham County Circuit Court asking for a new expedited judicial investigation. You can read a copy of the full complaint here (pdf).

Democratic House Leader Richard E. Hammel issued the following statement:

I strongly support the effort of Democrats calling for a one-man grand jury to investigate the recent election-rigging attempt by Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) and State Rep. Roy Schmidt (R-Grand Rapids). From the beginning I have called for a complete and thorough investigation, but that has yet to happen. As new information continues to surface, more questions are raised not answered. The fact that questions remain unanswered, that the State Police investigation remains incomplete and that other officials are not willing to follow an investigation to completion is troubling. Bolger and Schmidt made a serious attempt to tamper with democracy in Michigan, and that cannot be brushed aside. Therefore, this petition seeking to take the criminal investigation out of the hands of politicians that can’t or won’t follow leads is the appropriate next step in defending our system of democracy and the citizens of Michigan.

I also renew my request for the Michigan House Committee on Oversight, Reform and Ethics to open an investigation into Bolger and Schmidt’s scheme to undermine the 76th district House race. For the past several months information continues to come to light that points to individuals within the House Republican Caucus having potentially broken campaign finance laws and or House Rules. We need to restore trust and integrity to the House of Representatives. A similar investigation was opened at the federal level when Congressman Thaddeus McCotter submitted fraudulent signatures on his reelection petition. We owe it to the people of Michigan to take the integrity of the state House just as seriously.

Meanwhile, Republicans in Michigan continue with their deafening silence on whether or not they will support Bolger if the GOP keeps control of the House after the November election. In Livingston County, Cindy Denby and Bill Rogers won’t commit to replacing Bolger with someone who doesn’t tamper with elections.

Livingston County’s state House lawmakers said they haven’t ruled out voting to return embattled House Speaker Jase Bolger to the chamber’s leadership despite Bolger’s role in a fake-candidate scandal. {…}

Denby said she hasn’t ruled out supporting Bolger because authorities said they have “looked at the information fairly” and would not seek criminal charges, however. {…}

State Rep. Bill Rogers, R-Genoa Township, said he hasn’t followed news on the election scheme, and that in recent weeks he was focused on the primary election and working on education and health-care reforms in Lansing.

Rogers said he does recall Schmidt approaching House Republicans about switching parties, however.

Rogers said he would be given “great pause” in supporting Bolger for the House leadership if charges against the Marshall lawmaker surface by the time of leadership elections in January. In the meantime, he said he, too, hasn’t ruled out supporting Bolger for the job.

“I haven’t made a decision, and I haven’t looked into it in-depth,” Rogers said.

It’s absolutely unbelievable to me that Rogers hasn’t followed this. All state Representatives get complimentary subscriptions to the major news services like MIRS, outlets that have been following this story of corruption and fraud in great detail. It’s been in all the state newspapers and has even made national news. But Rogers can’t be bothered to pay attention and neither he or Denby appear willing to send the corrupt House speaker packing after he engaged in clearly unethical election fraud.

Democrats simply MUST retake the House in November. If they don’t, our legislature will be in the hands of a man who has admitted to attempting to defraud Michigan voters. That says all you need to know about Michigan Republicans.

UPDATE: The pushback by Republicans against Democrats calling for the grand jury investigation has been swift and venomous and indicative of how sensitive they are on this issue. Bolger himself described it as the “latest political attack by the Whitmer for Governor Campaign”. Oh! Very snarky! Very professional!

Several Republicans spewed nastiness against Whitmer in the MLive article “Michigan Republicans push back against Democrats calling for grand jury to look into Roy Schmidt election scandal”.

“Whitmer’s recent statement suggesting the state’s top law enforcement officer was somehow involved in this fiasco is outrageous,” [Attorney General Bill Schuette spokesperson Joy] Yearout said. “When news of Schmidt’s party switch broke, Schuette joined a hundred other Republicans in welcoming him to the GOP, plain and simple.
“Sen. Gretchen Whitmer again demonstrated her commitment to put negative politics ahead of public policy,” [Michigan Republican Party spokesperson] Frendewey said. “Her actions are shameful, disappointing and illustrates her desire to waste valuable tax dollars on political attacks.”