Impeachment, polls, ethics investigations, and AG Nessel’s latest case

November 18, 2019

Michigan Policast for Monday, November 18, 2019

  In this episode:

  • Impeachment – dogs, ponies, and witness tampering
  • Democratic primary – polls and new candidates
  • Voters who regret their vote for Trump
  • AG Nessel – Robocall crackdown and lightbulb efficiency lawsuit
  • Ethics investigations – Rashida Tlaib and Bill Huizenga
  • Transcript


Jump to:

Impeachment – dogs, ponies, and witness tampering

Democratic primary – polls and new candidates

Voters who regret their vote for Trump

Lori Malburg from Romeo, Mich., was blunt about her feelings of regret.

“I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that I voted for Donald Trump at this point,” Ms. Malburg says in the spot that features her and her hometown, which is part of a storied swing county, Macomb, that flipped from Democrat to Republican three years ago.

In 2019 and 2020, @American_Bridge will be laser-focused on taking back all facets of our government ... and above all else, removing @realdonaldtrump from the #WhiteHouse #2020 @JenGranholm #TrumpRegretsClick To Tweet



AG Nessel – Robocall crackdown and lightbulb efficiency lawsuit

'In the face of the very real threat of #climatechange, we must move forward, not backward. We will fight this every step of the way.' ~ @MIAttyGen @DanaNessel #energyefficiency To Tweet


Ethics investigations – Rashida Tlaib and Bill Huizenga

“During the campaign, I received the minimum salary payments necessary for me to meet my personal financial obligations, while ensuring that the campaign reserved the resources needed to reach voters,” she said. “All in all, I was paid less than I was entitled to receive under FEC regulations.” ~Rashida Tlaib, source


Adam Schiff 0:04
So the first in a series of public hearings, the committee will be holding as part of the houses impeachment inquiry. There are a few actions as consequential as the impeachment of a president of the founders did not intend that impeachment be employed for mere differences over policy. They also made impeachment a constitutional process that the Congress must utilize as necessary.

Richard Nixon 0:25
And in all of my years of public life, I have never obstructed justice. And I think to that I can say that in my years of public life, that I welcome this kind of examination because people have got to know whether or not their presidents a crook. Well, I'm not a crook.

Walt Sorg 0:43
And so for the third time in the last 45 years, Congress weighs in on removing the President of the United States from office for treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors. This is the Michigan Policast, a weekly look at Michigan politics and policy and the National stories impacting our pleasant peninsulas. Woltz org and this week the overriding story is the impeachment. That is the precursor to the 2020 election.

Christine Barry 1:06
I'm Christine Barry. The other story shaping our 2020 election is the campaign for the Democratic nomination, and that took some big twists and turns over the last few days. We've got one more candidate officially in another ready to announce and a new unexpected front runner in Iowa.

Walt Sorg 1:23
Amy Kerr Hardin is off this week. I'm guessing she's probably still recovering from two long days of testimony, basically confirming what we've known for a while Donald Trump tried to extort Ukraine into trash talking Joe Biden, Christine, I'm old enough to remember the powerful senate Watergate hearings in the 1970s. A big part of why they were so powerful was the masterful way that they were run by the committee chairman Senator Sam Irvin of North Carolina. This time Speaker Pelosi was very shrewd in getting the gavel to not the judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, but to the soft spoken Adam Schiff, a man whose calm demeanor match the lethal trial skills of a one time federal prosecuting attorney.

Adam Schiff 2:01
Some have argued in the presence of the fence that the aid was ultimately released. And that is true, but only after Congress began an investigation only after the presence of lawyers learned of a whistleblower complaint. And only after members of Congress began asking uncomfortable questions about quid pro quos a scheme to condition official acts or taxpayer funding to obtain a personal political benefit does not become less odious, because it is discovered before it is fully consummated.

Walt Sorg 2:31
Now, they really already proven their case, Donald Trump sort of confessed to it on the White House lawn as well was backed up by his acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. But the hearings Go on, go on and go on. What's your impression of what we've seen so far?

Christine Barry 2:45
I think that it's just a performance from the other side. You know, we talked briefly about the defense to the impeachment and it's not a defense. It's just a response. It's just people showing off but if you look at Devin Nunes, When he speaks about it, it's all about Russia. The Mueller report or Adam Schiff's, secret hearings, Jim Jordan just yells at people.

My impression is they don't have anything serious to talk about. It's all been a dog and pony show from them since the closed hearings, when they busted into the room there to try to, you know, make some point that these are secret hearings, the republicans have been involved in this very serious process all along. And the witnesses have been so professional and the democrats are following the rules and all the republicans do can do is distract or yell or

Walt Sorg 3:36
It's the old show when the facts are on your side, argue the facts when the facts are against you scream and shout. And that's basically what they're doing. Jim Jordan, it reminds me of back east he's harking back to his days as a college wrestling coach where he screams at people and ignores the misdeeds going on right in front of him. And it's really kind of pathetic. Think the base is eating it up. Donald Trump has been retweeting an awful lot. Which is pretty interesting for a guy who claims he wasn't watching the hearings, but it has just been it's been pretty one side and it's just going to get worse.

And just on top of that you got Donald Trump committing an impeachable offense during the hearing on his impeachment,

Christine Barry 4:10
Right? Somebody is testifying, they have a witness. They're testifying and he's tweeting about that witness, not about the testimony, but about that witness. And I can't remember which representative it was. But he said that well, the witness was probably not intimidated by the tweeting. Well, that's not the point.

Walt Sorg 4:33
She said she was just feels.

Christine Barry 4:35
Well, she was intimidated several times by this president based on his his acts, but even if she wasn't though, you know, this is a process where there'll be more witnesses and your attempt to slander these people and intimidate these people it it matters to future witnesses. So yeah, it's definitely witness tampering in that it's intimidating people from being witnesses, Or that it could intimidate future witnesses.

Walt Sorg 5:01
I took the time to watch the alternative reality on fox news is they covered much of the hearings, but not all of them. At one point, I turned off the CNN coverage and went over to Fox to see what they're up to. And they were doing a story on something else completely. They weren't even covering Ambassador Marie Yanovich, they apparently didn't think that it was worthwhile. So they were covering some other crazy news story instead, you know that that's going to be Fox News.

That's the big difference between this and Nixon, and even the clinton impeachment. So you only had a great set of facts and testimony back then from the three major networks plus PBS. And now you've got all sorts of different types of coverage with Fox News leading the opposition. What about the impact though, here in Michigan, I thought the most interesting one was Elyssa Slotkin, the congressman from the eighth district in the mid Michigan and Oakland County. She's got two more opponents in the race. Now there are four Republicans who want to knock her out and all of them say it's because she voted to start an impeachment inquiry.

Christine Barry 5:59
That's a dumber reason to get into a congressional race. I mean, that's a pretty big commitment to make over an impeachment inquiry that frankly, if you look at Elyssa Slotkin, you can't possibly expect her with her record of service to not support an inquiry. Even if she hasn't made up her mind yet, whether he's guilty or not, she has to support the inquiry so she can get to the bottom of what happened there. Her whole life has been about national security.

So we have Paul Young, who says he supports Trump and small government and all that. And there he didn't really see anything wrong with the Ukraine call Christina Lyke, I think is her name. She's one who came out and said, I'm running because of Slotkin support for the impeachment inquiry. Again, a stupid reason. Plus, I don't know that it gets traction. And then you have the other two that were already there. It just doesn't sound like they're going to have anything to talk about other than the impeachment inquiry and is that a good thing to hitch your wagon to?

Walt Sorg 6:58
No, and the way she is handled it, I think really plays well for her because she was very reason she didn't rush into a call for impeachment. And she really called on her national security background. One thing that's really interesting about this area, I live in the eighth district for most of the last two decades, this district has been represented by somebody who was in the national security business. We had Mike Rogers here for a long time, was a former FBI agent, and now does program on national security on CNN, we had the interlude with Mike Bishop, and then we got Elyssa Slotkin, with her background in the CIA and the Department of Defense. I think that that kind of background really serves her well, as opposed to these people that are running now. They're basically going to waste a lot of money, I think in the primary to come up with a candidate, and then they're going to have to fight Donald Trump all the way to the finish line. And I suspect slot gonna win by a much bigger margin this time than you did last time.

Christine Barry 7:48
Well, I certainly hope so. And I think she's earned another term there. She's worked very hard for the district. She's been very moderate on not only impeachment, but on just policy in general. healthcare and some of these other things that they're going to try to attack or on

Walt Sorg 8:04
It's like attacking the patriotism of the three career public servants that testified over the last week, William Taylor, George Kent, and Marie Yanovich. Yanovich left the hearing to a round of applause. You'd never see that at a congressional hearing. She was applauded by the audience and by the majority of the members of the House Intelligence Committee.

Christine Barry 8:24
Yeah, just nasty smears it nothing more than personal smears or making things up trying to get these lies or these disparaging things to stick, whether it's people who have spent their life in public service, like those witnesses at the hearings, or somebody like Elissa Slotkin and who's just doing a different kind of service now, they've got I mean, they live their life out in the open, you can look and see the facts for yourself. You can see their background and you can tell that these campaign tactics, these smear tactics, really don't have any basis. They don't have any merit.

Walt Sorg 8:57
Meanwhile, we've still got a campaign for president going With a whole bunch of Democrats still running, and the fields grew by one in the last few days with former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick deciding that America really needs him to run.

Deval Patrick 9:11
I admire and respect the candidates in the democratic field. They bring a richness of ideas and experience and a depth of character that makes me proud to be a Democrat. But if the character the candidates is an issue in every election, this time is about the character of the country. This time is about whether the day after the election America will keep her promises. This time is about more than removing an unpopular and divisive leader as important as that is, but about delivering instead for you.

Walt Sorg 9:45
Christie with 17 other candidates already announced I think it's 17. It could be more Michael Bloomberg apparently ready to get into the race. What's the deal with Governor Patrick? I thought his announcement video was really bland and it basically repeated the same message of Pete Buttigieg, minus the glitter.

Christine Barry 10:01
A couple of different impressions I got from this. One is that he was taking direct aim at Joe Biden, who, when he announced just came out and said, This is too important of an election to lose. You know, it seems that Governor Patrick is saying, you know, it's more than that. I thought that that was like a direct response to Joe Biden, he seems to think that he's going to be able to bring the moderates together with the left wing of the party. I don't know if that's true or not, but he sees a gap in our field, I think, and that's what he's aiming for. Maybe he could be competitive in that space. But I don't know. I don't think he brings a lot to the field, do you?

Walt Sorg 10:38
No, I think what he brings to the field is real problems for the two people at the left of the spectrum, the his home state senator, Elizabeth Warren, and the next door neighbor, Bernie Sanders, I think in the New Hampshire primary where he will first be tested. He's going to take votes away from them because of his proximity to New Hampshire and it's going to hurt both of them to the benefit of The more moderate candidates but I don't think he's gonna be the one that's benefiting from it.

Christine Barry 11:03
He had ruled out a run for for president earlier this year or last year or something because there's

Walt Sorg 11:09
several times okay.

Christine Barry 11:11
I don't want to say it was a last minute thing that he thought about it and got into the race, but it was last minute that he, you know, committed to announcing he put together that announcement video just a few hours prior to it going live. And he resigned from Bain Capital on the same day that he announced, I got the impression that there were wealthy centrist democrats who wanted to see a more viable centrist candidate, and it could be him. It could be Michelle Obama, it could be anybody they felt was safer than you know, a warren or a Sanders. I don't know that. That's true. Walt, I that's the perception. I got what he jumped in and I thought, you know, there's just nothing here now. He was a governor. So he has exact executive experience for what it's worth. I don't know what a lot of it but I certainly don't see him bringing much to the table.

Walt Sorg 12:03
One of the people who's been weighing in surprisingly on the direction of the Democratic Party was one Barack Hussein Obama, who's been pretty silent up till now. But over the weekend, he did speak in Washington DC and was actually pretty blunt about where he thought the party needed to go.

Barack Obama 12:18
We also have to be worded in reality. And the fact that holders are not driven by the same views that are reflected on certain, you know, left leaning Twitter efforts, they average American doesn't think that we have to completely tear down the system and remake it.

Walt Sorg 12:40
Now that's really a tough one for the more liberal candidates, because there is no way you can win a democratic nomination if you want to attack Barack Obama. He's just too popular in the party too popular in the country to be anything but an ally if you go against him, you're doomed.

Christine Barry 12:54
I have to say though, that I don't think that his comment about tearing down the system. What exactly Does you think we're tearing down when we talk about? Well, when we I mean, Warren and Sanders talk about Medicare for all, is it tearing down a system,

Walt Sorg 13:08
Bernie's organization was called revolution, our revolution. That's pretty blunt.

Christine Barry 13:13
But what you did with voters, not politicians was kind of a revolution. I mean, everything that is a big change that cultivates people who weren't engaged before is kind of revolutionary, right? And I get what he's saying. He's saying, just, you know, slow your roll. Let's talk to everybody. And not just the extreme left, but I think he's off. First of all, I do think that there is a growing support for something that's revolutionary. I mean, we're dealing with at least one generation who's got a serious issue with climate change. I mean, it's a life or death matter for them. And the other thing is when he talks about the country not being represented by these far left Twitter feeds, I think that's correct, obviously, but those far left Twitter feeds raising money for some of these candidates. If you look at the small donors that Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and some of the other candidates are getting, because of their activities on social media, we can't dismiss it that easily.

Walt Sorg 14:12
Well, the wedge issue, though, for the candidates on the left is Medicare for All. That's the dividing point for their supporters against the rest of the field. What a lot of the candidates are saying that aren't on the far left, is that hey, look, we all agree on universal health care. We've got it. We're not sure exactly how to get there and exactly when and even Elizabeth Warren's backing off of Medicare for all immediately, and is talking more now along the Budaj lines of phasing it in by starting with Medicare for all who wanted a lot of the candidates is that what let's talk about the differences between us and Trump who's against health care for anybody. It seems like other than himself, he was in the hospital over the weekend, which I find very interesting for an unscheduled physical and we're for climate change and dealing with the climate change in a big way. We disagree on the details a little bit, but basically there is consensus on infinitely critic party on these core issues, and we shouldn't get all hot and bothered over the differences of opinion. We can have an honest debate on those things without getting nasty.

Christine Barry 15:09
Oh, we just have so many fine candidates who are thoughtful and understand the issues that I don't know. It's it's hard to hang with all of them and listen to listen to all of them discuss the nuances between these policies.

Walt Sorg 15:22
I think the other thing that's got a lot of them bothered to is they're worried about Pete Buttigieg and his resume. They are looking at the sky and they saying like, What has he done? And that's a fair question. He's 37 years old. He's the mayor was the mayor of South Bend in the end until he was recently replaces the mayor of South Bend. And he's a military veteran, which is great. But compared to the others, he has a very thin resume, and they are worried that Donald Trump will eat him alive. I'm not worried about that myself. I think he can run rings around President Trump if they were to get to a debate. Trump would be foolish to debate him because he's probably kill him. But I think that is one of the really, really major concerns and I cannot And it just from a local perspective, I'm a part of the Ingham County Democratic Party here in Lansing. Two years ago, we were looking for a speaker for our annual fundraising dinner and we got word that this obscure Mayor from South Bend would be interested in speaking to our dinner, I couldn't pronounce his name. We looked him up on Wikipedia to see who the hell he was. And we finally decided not to invite him because you know, who who is he going to draw? Well, two years later, he's right now the leading contender to be the winner of the Iowa caucus.

Speaker 1 16:26
It's the Iowa way….

Walt Sorg 16:44
And of course, if it's a day that ends with why we've got new polls, which do show Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the new Iowa front runner, first we had the Monmouth University poll, which showed him with a narrow lead in a four way race with Joe Biden, a little with Warren and Bernie Sanders on top of Pete was number one. But then the shocker over the weekend was the poll from the folks that considered the best pollsters for Iowa. And that's the Des Moines Register, which is considered the gold standard. And that one's not even close since September, but a judge has risen 16 points among likely democratic caucus goers with 25%. Now say he's their first choice for President. Holy crap.

Christine Barry 17:25
Yeah. And he's pulling primarily from Warren. Well, this is actually according to a CBS News poll from about the same time that his support that he's picking up is is coming from people who had previously had Warren as their first choice.

Walt Sorg 17:39
Yeah, he has invested a lot in television in Iowa, but not the most actually. Tom Steyer's the big spender there he has emptied out the Steyer bank account, or at least one of them in trying to buy his way into the White House not doing very well with that. Joe Biden is beginning to spend some money there as well. Kamala Harris said she moved to Iowa and apparently it's just about doing that. Right now and she's there every day. But I heard one commentator, I think it was a comment from the New York Times explained the appeal of Buttigieg and also of Joe Biden. And that is people just want to return to decency. And those two guys more than any of the other candidates just exude decency.

Christine Barry 18:17
I think Joe Biden, when I, he, he is just familiar to me, right? He's safe. He's been around forever. He's competent, even though he's a gaffe machine. But Pete, I do think decency would be probably one of the first words I used to describe him. Yeah,

Walt Sorg 18:36
yeah. Now there's one other poll that's worth mentioning, because it does have a different result, which shows basically, a four way tie at the top. It's by CBS, and it had Sanders and bide the 22% Buttigieg at 21% and orange and 18%. And given the margin of error that is a statistical tie. I thought the most important finding from that pole though, was way down in the bottom of it people that are concerned That Sanders and Warren are just too liberal to defeat Trump 44% for Bernie Sanders 36% for Warren, as opposed to 17% for Buttigieg 6%, for Biden, the other finding that the democrats there are happy with their choices. They have a 78% satisfaction rating with the current field of candidates. And this was done before. Governor Patrick got into the race and before they considered Mike Bloomberg a candidate but it was 78% were satisfied 22% want more choices? So I think both Bloomberg and Patrick might be whistling up a tree.

Christine Barry 19:36
You know, a couple of other interesting things from from that pole. And when you put it in context with the Monmouth poll, first of all, Medicare for all, the support for that is slipping. I think kind of coincides maybe with what's going on with Elizabeth Warren support. Fewer people favor Medicare for all more people oppose or say it depends. And it was interesting how you said Tom Steyer is Spending all of his money trying to stay in the race, which is true is very, very low in terms of support. But when you look at that Monmouth poll it asks, who's your first choice and who's your second choice? And in those two questions where people chose their first and second options for candidates, the top six remain the same. And in both polls number six was Tom Steyer that's above Yang, Castro, Booker, all of them so I thought that was really interesting because other than impeachment, I honestly don't know much about Tom Steyer at all. That's the only thing I know that he stands for.

Walt Sorg 20:34
But it does have to reintroduce himself. He's been very strong on climate change. And he did a tremendous job with next gen tried to organize young voters during the last cycle and had a good organization as a result of that.

Well, most of the news coverage of the campaign has focused on Iowa and to a lesser extent New Hampshire, the pack American bridge, which is led by several Democratic Party heavyweights including Obama My campaign manager Jim Messina and former Michigan governor and friend of the pod Jennifer Granholm is launching a $3 million ad campaign in three states, Michigan, Wisconsin in Pennsylvania. Wonder why those states? those ads All Star 2016 Trump voters who realize they made a big mistake.

Speaker 21:20
My name is Lori Marburg. I live here in Romeo, Michigan. It's a small town. My husband Tom and I have been married for 37 years. We were highschool sweethearts. My husband is a tool and die designer by trade.

We are both registered Republicans. And we were intrigued by the idea of a businessman. And in 2016, I voted for Donald Trump. We supported him as our candidate, and as our president. Unfortunately, all of the promises that were made during the campaign have proven to be empty promises. One After another, I don't think that Donald Trump understands us at all. The last three years have been really bad for Michigan. And I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that I voted for Donald Trump at this point.

Walt Sorg 22:17
Pretty powerful, and they really don't need to peel off that any votes from Trump in those three states to flip the election, you're talking to a margin of 80,000 votes that he had last time to win all three of them.

Christine Barry 22:26
What's really cool about this group and this campaign, the wall it's, it's done by a company called American bridge, I think, an organization called American bridge, and they're planning to spend or they're spending now about $3 million. Over the next year, they expect to spend about 50 million. And I really liked the way that they described what this was, which was providing a safe space for people who have their regrets. Probably don't want to say that they have those regrets out loud. It is kind of embarrassing to a lot of them. It doesn't help that we call them stupid. It's not very It's it's hard for me to not think of them that way. But when you listen to somebody like Lori in that ad and she said, Look, he was a businessman, you know that connects with people, people who respect what it takes to run a business. Appreciate other people they see as successful businessman, so I get that he did make promises. For some reason people thought that he was genuine. And so I like that they have plain simple story from people who regret it and they're not adding anything to that narrative. know nothing about impeachment. Nothing about Twitter, just letting people tell their stories.

The state legislature is gone for a while focused on deer hunting and thanksgiving instead of finishing up the budget. But the perpetual motion machine that is Attorney General Dana Nessel has dropped a few more bombs into the news cycle. My personal favorite, her office is taking aim at robocalls

Walt Sorg 24:01

Christine Barry 24:03
Well, this is this initiative is a multi layer effort. She has several state and federal partners working together with her office on this. This is called the Michigan's robo call crackdown team. Now according to her press release in 2019 there were 1.3 billion robo calls made to Michiganders. They're not the appointment reminder, phone calls type of things that we're talking about. These are the ones that actually have scams attached to them. So this is really a welcome initiative. In my opinion, so many people are victims of these robo calls and they're good these robo calls. These scammers are really good at what they do.

Walt Sorg 24:43
Yeah, they are very, very good and people that aren't real sophisticated, get victimized by them, and the frauds go on but it's things that are calling up for things like auto warranty programs that are worthless, or trying to sell you a medicaid medicare plus policies or financial planning or car warranties and On and on it goes, I'd like to put in a plug, by the way, for an app of all things that is free, you can upgrade it and have a paid version of it. But the free version works great on my phone. It's called you mail. Just like YouTube accepted you mail. It's a little bit nerdy to get installed, but put it on your phone go through the process, I found that is very effective in screening on and off a lot of the calls. And I really like that one a lot.

Christine Barry 25:24
If you want more information about this initiative as including some tips on on how to better protect yourself is the website for that.

Walt Sorg 25:34
And we'll have a link to that, of course on our website as well. Another thing that the attorney general has done this week is she's joined with a coalition of 16 attorneys general to file a lawsuit taken on Donald Trump on the issue of all issues, energy efficient light bulbs, Trump has decided that the old 100 year old technology of the incandescent light bulb, something that was invented by Thomas Edison is still the way to go, because it makes him look better.

Christine Barry 25:58
Plus they run on coal. Think Yeah, they can call back.

Walt Sorg 26:02
Yeah, he was bringing coal back. He's also bringing back Blockbuster Video, I think,

Christine Barry 26:06
Well the Department of Energy rolled back those requirements. And so her position and along with the other 16 agencies is that this unlawfully delays the adoption of energy efficiency goals. So it undermines state and local energy policy.

Walt Sorg 26:22
The weird part is it ends up costing consumers more use those old fashioned light bulbs because they spend more on electricity. They're, they're more they cost more front. But over the lifetime of the bulb, they last longer, and they use a heck of a lot less electricity. And of course, the president he immediately jumps to the conclusion of the democrats went out while hamburgers want to get rid of airplanes and all that stuff, because we're all bunch of crazy socialist and God protect America and make America great again.

Christine Barry 26:47
Well, here's something that you may really enjoy, despite not being mandated to provide information on the lawsuit to the legislature. She did send a letter over to the House and Senate to Let them know of her participation in the suit and has agreed to meet with them to provide additional information. This was something that they tried to put in the budget that they sent over to the governor at the last minute and the governor said that's not constitutional is not enforceable, whatever. So she struck it out. But Nessel said she would be happy to do so anyway. And I like that. I like that. She's First of all, an attorney for the people. She's got that Jennifer Granholm spirit of I'll take your case, you know, she sees sees this as an injustice and goes after it. And I like that she's not afraid to stand up to the legislature and go over and tell them. This is what I'm doing.

Walt Sorg 27:35
She's also big on shining light on the activities of her office. That was a joke.

Christine Barry 27:40
That was a joke?

Walt Sorg 27:40
She, she's shining a light

Christine Barry 27:43
Well, I'm pretty dim over here. Walt so you have to explain it.

Walt Sorg 27:47
You've got your dimmer on 50% right now.

Christine Barry 27:49

Walt Sorg 27:50
Oh, we gotta wrap up with some unfortunate news about something that may or may not be swampy. Although I think both of these are probably mostly bull. Two members of the Michigan group. National delegations are being investigated by the house ethics committee right now one from each party Rashida Tlaib is being questioned over taking a salary from her campaign committee before she took office. There's no problem with her taking a salary during the campaign. But once she was elected continuing to draw her salary is problematic apparently it's a violation of some rule. I think it's fairly innocent. You know, she may she was very open about it during the campaign. She said look at I've got a family to support I've got a mortgage to pay and all that stuff. I'm not rich like some of these people. I'm going to draw salary and I'm going to report and I'm going to do it in compliance with the rules but apparently she messed up a little bit. I don't think that's going to go anywhere. She may have to repay the money and maybe pay a fine but other than that, I think that's a big nothing burger.

Christine Barry 28:41
it amounts to $17,500. They withdraw. These are into payments drawn on November 16. And December 1, and that's the problem is that they came in after November 6. Her attorney says the adjustments are for work done prior to November 6, and she paid herself less than what She was entitled to receive. But again, you know, she she pulled it out after the November 6 deadline, and then that's where the problem comes in. It has to be done before she's elected even if she's not sworn in yet. You can't pull from your campaign fund after you're elected.

Walt Sorg 29:13
Maybe she should have just force Ukraine to pay her instead. And that would have been considered Okay.

Christine Barry 29:18
Oh, burn

Walt Sorg 29:19
Burn Yeah. Also, Bill. Huizenga from Zealand over in the west side of the state has got an investigation that could be a little more deadly. He's accused basically using campaign funds to party

Christine Barry 29:30
so more than $33,000 reimbursements to his chief of staff. I don't know how many dollars are involved in taking it himself and his family and staff or families and volunteer families all that places like Disney World, the Mackinac Island Republican leadership conference, there was a Utah result resort involved. And the problem was that you can't just use campaign funds to go and throw yourself in these fancy vacations. Well, he says these are all campaign related trips. They included fundraisers and other campaign related events. There's lack of verifiable documentation for some of it. Some of them includes things like dinner with his brother where they didn't do anything. There seems to be a pattern of disregard for the rules prohibiting campaign funds for personal use. So his defenses that this was already resolved by the FEC. Now, it hasn't been resolved. What happened is there supposed to be six members of the FEC there were four they deadlock two to two. They failed to find a reason to believe the violations and they also failed to dismiss the allegations. So they agreed unanimously to close the file, which I don't know about you all, but that's how decisions are made here in my house too. So anyway, without getting you know, too much more into how the FEC works. What they did was they dismissed it and they sent the appropriate letters and that letter that they sent over is what's coming to light now and that's what the house ethics committee is investigating. And his defense is just while the FEC already said I was innocent, well, they didn't say he was innocent. They just didn't act on it, other than to send the letters.

Walt Sorg 31:12
And the ethics committee does point out that just because they've sent out a letter that they're investigating does not mean that you're guilty.

Christine Barry 31:18
And do you feel like these these things that we're looking at with Rashida Tlaib and and Bill Huizenga, I know they're not minor things, but they feel minor in the grander scheme of things that the media seems to be willing to, I don't want to say overlook. There's a lot of things that are being reported now with the president with all the things that he's been doing, but it just seems like these are so minor compared to the

Walt Sorg 31:41
you know, I can get major though there's a congressman in California who's facing criminal charges for these types of abuses of campaign funds for personal use, Now admittedly involved a lot more money and that they weren't nearly as defensible is what high school did, but it is something that can escalate into something fairly serious.

Christine Barry 31:57
Yeah, and it's important that's not that it isn't important. That's Not that I think it's not worth investigating, but other things that so many people are saying, Well, I think if you just put it against the background of Trump, it's like, wow, these things, I would rather take 100 of these little things than one of Trumps Ukraine calls.

Walt Sorg 32:15
I'd like to see them at least start taking a look at Mitch McConnell and the relationship of him and his wife to the Chinese companies that his wife's family owns and all the money that flows into his campaign coffers from those companies. So that's the kind of thing that really does amount to some corruption. These things are kind of minor league.

Christine Barry 32:33
Well, there's a process and at least this got through the process so that we can look at it but like you said, These seem, I don't think there's much there there. Maybe Bill Huizenga went a little too far with this campaign spending. It does kind of seem like he did, but I don't really think there's much there. Like it's just sloppy.

Walt Sorg 32:51
That's going to be a wrap for this week's podcast. Before we wrap though, I want to give you a little bit of a teaser without any details just to piss you off. And that is next week, we're going to have a pretty big and announcement regarding the future of the Michigan Policast, and how we are going to be expanding our reach across the state of Michigan and become the dominant political force that we've always wanted to be. We do want to rule the world. Right, Christine?

Christine Barry 33:12
That's right. Total world domination.

Walt Sorg 33:15
Yay. For more information on the stuff we talked about today, head on over to our website, Michigan podcast. com. We've got links memes rumors, tweets, videos, and maybe my favorite recipe for Turkey stuffing as well,

Christine Barry 33:27
maybe, maybe not. But you can holler at us using the Google email machine. We are at and really any email machine that you want to use will work for that.

Walt Sorg 33:39
Well, in our, in our end, it's got to be the carrot. It's the Google email. It's a law. It's a law that Google has to be able to read all of our email.

Christine Barry 33:48
Amy we'll be back with us next week. Thanks for making us a part of your day.

Walt Sorg 33:53
The Michigan Policast is a production of Michigan Citizens for a Better Tomorrow.

Transcribed by

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *