Michigan Democratic Party, Michigan Democrats — February 3, 2013 at 10:39 am

Convicted Oakland County Dem Chair accuses state Chair Brewer of election scam involvement 2 years late


Really? NOW you bring this up?

During the summer of 2010, across the state you could find paid petitioners circulating petitions to put the “Tea Party” on the November ballot. Candidates were recruited and it looked as if the tea party folks were finally going to get some skin in the game instead of trying to take over the Republican Party.

It later turned out to be a giant scam, orchestrated by people in the Oakland County Democratic Party including its chair Mike McGuinness. He and another party employee, Jason Bauer, were both convicted of forging election paperwork to put people on the ballot as Tea Party candidates, some of whom were never even contacted about running as phony candidates.

Michigan Democratic Party (MDP) Chair Mark Brewer denied all knowledge or involvement in the embarrassing scandal. However, out of the blue, McGuinness resurfaced this week in the comments section of the Michigan Liberal website to say he was recruited by Brewer for this scheme. With Brewer being challenged as MDP Chair, the timing is so suspicious as to be completely unbelievable.

As I recently wrote, Chair Brewer has lost the support of various prominent Michigan Democrats as well as some labor unions including the UAW, a group that carries so much sway in the Democratic Party in Michigan that this has the prospect of new MDP leadership a potential reality for the first time nearly two decades. Democratic fundraiser and former state House candidate from Kalkaska, Lon Johnson, has been chosen as the candidate the UAW and others will be supporting to run against Brewer at the February 23rd state Democratic Party Convention in Detroit.

So, McGuinness’s sudden desire to “come clean” rings a bit hollow, particularly since there was a full grand jury investigation when the scandal was discovered and, oddly enough, McGuinness didn’t make these accusations then. His defense of that in further comments at MichLib are even more lame.

What’s particularly suspicious is that, in his rambling diatribe, McGuinness doesn’t just accuse Mark Brewer of orchestrating the scheme, he goes on to basically make an argument against Brewer continuing as Chair that’s completely separate from his accusation:

Rewarding failure is foolish. Some failure or mistakes do not make a person a failure, or their tenure a failure, but there are large-scale strategic and structural flaws on constant display. Yet, the status quo is preferable to self-improvement for the state party and its major components.

Shouldn’t there be a better reason for someone to be selected to lead a state party than: There’s no compelling individual who is willing or able instead? The fact that people are so stumped when coming up with prospective replacements is alone a damning indictment of the current chair’s party prognosis. The absence of cultivating new leaders and a strong farm team is sad and can be interpreted as fiefdom protection. {…}

It may be too late for me, but for the sake of Michigan I refuse to accept that you can’t do any better than whomever protects the status quo the most and offends the most party interests the least.

Raise your standards, please and thank you.

These may be fair points to raise in a campaign for a state party chairmanship but they stick out as odd in the middle of a rather scurrilous accusation that he chose to make in the comments section of a declining state blog. Given how he did this, McGuinness has absolutely no credibility in this matter at all, in my opinion, and all the attention being paid to it statewide simply plays into the hands of our political opponents.

This whole thing is just one more example of what a Charlie Fox the Democratic Party in Michigan has become. It is my sincere hope that some very serious and effective leadership bubbles to the surface and does so soon. We have already lost nearly every position of power to the Republicans. If 2014 is not a “wave election” in this state, we are going to be in some very serious trouble. Whether that leadership arises from the current party officials or from new blood, we need a major shift in candidate recruitment, fundraising, and modern field operations that harness the grassroots energy that remains after the 2012 election. The Obama campaign literally came to our state, trained local organizers and showed Democrats how to effectively collect and exploit data to win elections. The question now is whether or not these intra-party pissing matches will get in the way of actually moving forward.