We don’t blame you, Governor. We’d hide that, too.
[Caricature by DonkeyHotey from photos by Anne C. Savage for Eclectablog]
With the announcement that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is closing down the secretive NERD Fund without disclosing its donors, questions remain as to WHY he is keeping the donors secret. Considering that Charlie Secchia is the fund’s president, it’s possible that Governor Snyder is hiding the fact that the corporatist DeVos family is one of the donors he’s trying to shield.
Charlie Secchia, once the Western Michigan Vice Chairman for the Rick Snyder for Michigan Committee, is the son of Peter F. Secchia who was the Chairman of the Finance Committee for Dick DeVos’s gubernatorial campaign in 2005-2006. He is very close to the DeVos family, once appearing with Doug DeVos at the West Michigan Policy Forum in Grand Rapids in the fall of 2010 to basically threaten Michigan Republicans to fall in line with their views or risk facing the wrath of some of Michigan’s wealthiest conservatives.
Grand Rapids came out swinging Thursday as business leaders declared they will not be ignored by Lansing anymore.
“We’ve had it with the lack of response,” said Amway President Doug DeVos as he called on his business audience to grab politicians in their sensitive “personal spots” to get their attention — campaign contributions and elections. […]
This is a ticked-off group. What do they want? Kill the Michigan Business Tax, adopt a right-to-work law, make permitting easier, improve road funding and boost preventive health care. […]
Secchia said politicians will pay a dear price for their indifference. A different “T” party is emerging. “We are a time-is-up party.”
Dillon, Bishop and state Sen. Bill Hardiman of Kentwood lost their bids for new offices this summer because of their support of the MBT, Secchia said.
“Our message is, ‘Paybacks are hell,'” Secchia said.
Peter Secchia is no stranger to politics and was once the Vice Chairman of the Republican National Committee. The connections between the Secchia and DeVos families are vast. Here’s a sampling:
- Next month Dick DeVos will speak at a breakfast lecture named after the elder Secchia.
- In 2010, Doug DeVos made a similar appearance.
- Amway founder Rich DeVos and his wife Helen gave $5 million to a medical education center in Grand Rapids named after Secchia.
- In September, Peter Secchia appeared with Dick and Betsy DeVos at a Kent County Republican Party event.
- Secchia and several members of the DeVos family sit on the Board of Governors for the Van Andel Institue.
- Richard DeVos and Peter Secchia both received awards from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars at the same event
- Charlie Secchia is on the oversight board for Van Andel Arena, DeVos Place and DeVos Hall.
- There’s even a “Secchia Lobby” in the DeVos Place in Grand Rapids.
Given that Dick DeVos was soundly trounced by Democrat Jennifer Granholm in the 2006 gubernatorial campaign (by 14 points!) and the name DeVos has become synonymous with union busting, the takeover of public schools by for-profit corporations, and the privatization of public services and assets to funnel taxpayer money into corporate bank accounts, it would come as no surprise to find out that the NERD Fund is heavily financed by the DeVos family and that Governor Snyder would like to keep that secret. The involvement of the NERD Fund in the now infamous “Skunk Works” effort to voucherize Michigan’s public schools makes participation by the wealthy DeVos family seem that much more likely.
But, it appears we’ll never know because Governor Snyder is choosing to keep the contributors secret. And, with that decision, transparency in Michigan government has died with the Snyder administration.