Gary Peters, Michigan Democratic Party, Terri Lynn Land — September 3, 2014 at 11:19 am

BREAKING: Michigan Democratic Party files FEC complaint over Terri Lynn Land’s monster campaign trucks


When I first posted about the humongous truck used by Terri Lynn Land’s campaign to tote around a campaign sign in a post titled “Terri Lynn Land’s campaign is a visible demonstration of waste & excess with a $100K truck that gets 8 mpg”, most people didn’t realize that she has not one, but TWO of these trucks.

As I reported then, the Michigan Democratic Party was calling foul on her use of the two trucks because she rents them from a relative, brother-in-law Roger Lucas, who works at her her husband’s the “family” business Land & Co. for only $1,000 a month. The MDP did some checking and this is FAR below the price you can rent even a compact car for these days.

The good folks at the Michigan Democratic Party did some digging and found that Land was paying rent to her brother-in-law Roger Lucas for use of the truck to the tune of $1,000/month or about $33/day. Given that it’s a $100,000 truck, they questioned whether this was a fair market price, particularly since you can barely rent a compact car for that amount of money.

If that $1,000/month is for TWO trucks, that comes to less than $17/day. Try renting even a beater car for that.

One other thing to note: Roger Lucas is a partner in Land & Co., the “family business” where her husband Dan Hibma is a partner and owner and that Land claims to have no business dealings with.

Really, Terri? Truckgate?

Here are the trucks in question:

Photos by Zachary Schefman, used with permission

This morning, Executive Director Garrett Arwa announced that MDP is filing a complaint with the Federal Elections Committee, asking for a federal investigation of the sweetheart deal Land is getting from her brother-in-law to rent the trucks, particularly since Lucas has already maxed out his legal political contributions to Land’s campaign.

From the MDP:

Michiganders are troubled that Land continues to potentially break campaign finance laws even though as Secretary of State, she enforced the same types of laws she’s now accused of breaking:

  • Land thinks she can illegally coordinate with Super PACs
  • Land thinks she can funnel $3 million from her husband’s Land & Co. fortune
  • Land thinks she can lie about her small business experience with Land & Co.
  • And now, Land is renting two campaign trucks with her campaign billboards from her brother and law, an owner of Land & Co., for only $17 per day.

Even during her time campaigning for Secretary of State, Land was accused of sidestepping campaign finance laws. During 2002 race, a campaign finance watchdog suggested the donations helped those with significant financial interest in Land & Company—including her husband and father—sidestep contribution limits.

Independent and Republican experts have raised serious concerns about Land’s potentially illegal self-funding, secretive business experience with Land & Co., or renting the trucks below fair market value while breaking the law. Michiganders deserve the truth, but since Land refuses to answer straightforward questions or hold public events, the Michigan Democratic Party is filing a complaint with the FEC calling for this federal investigation.

“Terri Lynn Land is taking advantage of her latest sweetheart deal by renting her massive campaign trucks from her brother in law for next to nothing, and is hoping we don’t notice. Michiganders have noticed, and we need a federal investigation into her campaign finances because she refuses to give us the truth,” said Garrett Arwa, MDP Executive Director. “Land thinks she doesn’t have to play by the same rules as the rest of us, even when she was campaigning for Secretary of State and sidestepped campaign finance laws. She continues to potentially break campaign finance law by taking illegal contributions from her family’s real estate empire, Land & Company, whether it’s funneling $3 million to her campaign or renting these trucks below fair market value. As a former Secretary of State, she should know better. Land should agree to debates so Michiganders can finally hear the truth from her about her potentially illegal campaign finances and secretive business experience.”

Not only is Land dodging questions about her relationship with Land & Co., the joint bank account she has with her husband that has poured millions of dollars into her campaign, and the source of all of those funds, she is also dodging her Democratic opponent in their U.S. Senate race Gary Peters. Via Michigan Radio’s Steve Carmody:

It appears highly unlikely there will be a televised debate between Michigan’s two major-party candidates for U.S. Senate this fall.

It’s not for a lack of potential debate venues. Two TV stations and Michigan State University have offered to host a debate between Republican Terri Lynn Land and Democrat Gary Peters.

The Peters campaign has accepted those invitations, but Land’s campaign has not.

Speaking tonight, Land would only say she’s leaving the decision to debate up to “the folks who make those plans,” but declined to say who “those folks” are.

“I’m always willing to talk to voters,” Land answered in response to repeated questions about debates.

That last statement is a bald-faced lie. Land has done everything she can to avoid “voters” unless they are hand-picked supporters who she can count on to not share her wharrgarbl with others and show her to be the not-ready-for-primetime, embarrassment of a candidate that she is.

Here’s what it looks like when you attempt to attend a “public” Terri Lynn Land event:

The truth is, if Michigan voters were paying closer attention to this race, Gary Peters would be up by 20 or more points in the polls. Come election day, I expect her to be blown out by the same margin (or even larger) that Debbie Stabenow clobbered the last failure of a candidate for U.S. Senate put up by the Republicans, Pete Hoekstra.

[Caricature by DonkeyHotey for Eclectablog. Adapted from: Wikipedia – State of MI / Flickr – Logan C]