Bolger/Schmidt contorvery heating up as Michigan Democrats call for investigation

Jul 18, 2012

Democrats in the Michigan legislature are calling for investigations and for State House Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) to step down amid the controversy surrounding state Rep. Roy Schmidt's (R-Grand Rapids) party switch.

Bolger was involved in seeking out a fake Democratic candidate to run against the newly declared Republican this November.

Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith reported on the controversy last night:

The Kent County Prosecutor says a state representative who switched political parties minutes before an election filing deadline may have committed election fraud. But the review concludes Democrat-turned-Republican turned-Democrat Roy Schmidt did not do anything criminal.

You can read the prosecutor's full report here.

MPRN's Rick Pluta reports that "State House Democrats are calling for a special investigation by the House Oversight, Reform, and Ethics Committee into the scandal surrounding the party switch of state Representative Roy Schmidt and a plot with Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger to put a fake Democratic candidate on the ballot."

Michigan Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer issued a statement criticizing House Leader Bolger this morning that said in part:

Leadership is about taking responsibility and being accountable when things under your control go awry.  In this case, regardless of whether charges are ultimately filed, we know that one of Michigan’s highest ranking leaders engaged in unethical and fraudulent behavior, putting personal politics above the good of Michigan and then pathologically lying about it.  There is simply too much at stake for our state, our families and our future for his actions to stand in the way of what truly needs to be done to get our state back on track.  Therefore, I am calling on Speaker Bolger to immediately step down as Speaker of the House.

Bolger issued a statement saying there was nothing illegal in Roy Schmidt's party switch...

But some of the actions surrounding the recruitment of another candidate were politically motivated. I encouraged a Democrat to be recruited to run, but today even I am still learning about all of the actions that took place surrounding that recruitment.

Pluta and Zoe Clark of Michigan Radio's It's Just Politics took a look at the Schmidt controversy when it first erupted back in May in Machination in Michigan: Rep. Roy Schmidt and the offer he couldn't refuse.