Jase Bolger

Politics & Government
9:00 am
Sat October 6, 2012

The week in politics

A view of the state capitol building in Lansing, Michigan
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Every Saturday Rina Miller talks with Michigan Radio's political analyst Jack Lessenberry about some of the biggest stories in the week's news. Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson was ordered to be in federal court this week, even though she asked someone else to speak on her behalf. Also, controversy surrounding Speaker of the House Jase Bolger (R) brings up the question of whether Democrats can be competitive for the Speaker of the House’s seat in November. Plus, a Detroit scandal involving Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee creates head ache for Mayor Dave Bing.

Politics & Government
7:50 am
Wed October 3, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Snyder likely to veto handgun bill

"Governor Snyder has indicated he will likely veto a bill that would change the state's gun sales law. The bill would eliminate a state background check requirement for sales made over the Internet or at gun shows. Those account for close to half of all gun sales," Sarah Hulett reports.

House speaker Bolger criticized for his company's tax history

"State House Speaker Jase Bolger is facing harsh criticism about his business record from a liberal advocacy group. Progress Michigan released documents alleging Bolger’s company, Summit Credit Service, failed to pay more than $100,000 in taxes and fees between 1997 and 2000. The papers include liens from the Michigan Treasury Department, the state Unemployment Agency, and the IRS," Jake Neher reports.

Striking Detroit workers suspended and face firing

Thirty-four striking Detroit employees of the water and sewage department who went on strike this week have been suspended and face firing. It's illegal in Michigan for municipal workers to strike. Sarah Cwiek reports that, "City officials plan to largely privatize the water department over five years, and cut up to 80-percent of its staff."

Politics & Government
5:11 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

House Speaker Bolger faces criticism over company's tax history

House Speaker Jase Bolger.
Jase Bolger Facebook.com

State House Speaker Jase Bolger is facing harsh criticism about his business record from a liberal advocacy group.

Progress Michigan released documents alleging Bolger’s company, Summit Credit Service, failed to pay more than $100,000 in taxes and fees between 1997 and 2000.

The papers include liens from the Michigan Treasury Department, the state Unemployment Agency, and the IRS.

Bolger’s spokesperson, Ari Adler, said all taxes and fees have been paid in full.

“All of these issues were addressed more than 10 years ago. And now Speaker Bolger and his partners have a successful small business that is employing people in Michigan,” Adler said.

The Speaker is currently under investigation by a grand jury for allegations of election fraud in a separate matter.

It's Just Politics
7:34 pm
Fri September 21, 2012

Just what do politicians do when they're in trouble? Change the subject, of course

There's little doubt by now you've heard, because it sure seems like everybody’s heard, Mitt Romney’s now-famous – infamous – 47 percent comment. It set the political grapevine ablaze this week with discussion and speculation that this is the gaffe that’s sunk the Romney campaign with 46 days to go until Election Day. Much like John McCain’s “Michigan moment” in 2008 when he pulled his campaign out of the state and everyone just kind of declared, "game over."

But there are still 46 days to go and Romney and many of his fellow Republicans are saying: Whoa, not so fast...  It ain't over til it's over. “A lot of folks would just as soon have this election be done now… The fact is elections are held on one day, November sixth, and not before," State Attorney General Bill Schuette, Romney's Michigan campaign manager, said this week.  It's a variation on the classic, "the only poll that counts is the one on Election Day.”

Redirecting the Message

Political campaigns are really about three things: one is identifying your voters, another is making sure your voters get out on election day and the third - which is especially critical to getting out your voters as well as persuading the ones who are undecided - is “messaging.”  Because in politics, “messaging” is a verb. So, for the Romney campaign, the question is, how to pull off that pivot, how to change the subject. And the message of the moment is, "Hey, everybody makes mistakes."

“Well, I think Barak Obama has made a lot of mistakes, too. When he said the private sector is doing just fine. That’s nonsense. When a small businessperson is successful, he said that person didn’t build it. We know that’s not true," Schuette explained, trying to create an equivalency between the two candidates and the two campaigns. Those are things the president said that – taken out of context, certainly – but still were missteps that Republicans have now turned against him. Republicans have also reached back to 1998 when President Obama was still a state senator in Illinois to something he said, that he believes in wealth redistribution, ignoring that he also said he believes in free markets.

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commentary
9:24 am
Wed August 29, 2012

Commentary: Grand Jury Investigation

Yesterday should have been a day of ultimate triumph for Michigan Republicans. Mitt Romney became the first native Detroiter in history to be nominated for President of the United States.

His wife Ann, another native Michigander, gave a very moving  nationally televised speech to the Republican National Convention, and celebration should have been the word of the day.

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week in state politics
9:10 am
Wed August 29, 2012

The week in Michigan politics

cncphotos flickr

Every Wednesday Christina Shockley talks to Michigan Radio's Political Analyst Jack Lessenberry about what is going on in state politics. This week they talk about the one-person jury that is investigating election rigging allegations involving  State Representative Roy Schmidt and Speaker of the House Jase Bolger. They also discuss the ballot campaigns that are now going to court to try to get on the November ballot, and what Michigan delegates are doing at the Republican Nation Convention.

morning news roundup
8:23 am
Wed August 29, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

One-woman jury looks into Bolger and Schmidt allegations

Judge Rosemary Aqualina will be the one-person grand jury to look into whether state House Speaker Jase Bolger and state Representative Roy Schmidt broke any laws when they plotted to rig an election. Schmidt and Bolger plotted the Grand Rapids lawmaker’s switch to the Republican Party, and recruited a fake Democrat to appear on the ballot so Schmidt would avoid a reelection fight. 

54.5 mpg by 2025

The federal government has finalized new rules to require cars and trucks get an average 54.5 miles per gallon by the year 2025. That's almost double what the fuel efficiency standards are today. However, the target is higher than the real-world average in 2025.  The average new car will get 45 miles per gallon, and the average truck will get 32 mpg.

Ban on adoption by unmarried couples challenge

The state of Michigan is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit that challenges a ban on adoption by unmarried couples. The lawsuit is led by two Detroit-area lesbians who are raising three children. State law says that April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse can't adopt them as a couple, an option available only to heterosexual married couples. DeBoer and Rowse say their civil rights are being violated. Detroit federal Judge Bernard Friedman will hear arguments Wednesday.

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Politics & Government
2:33 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

Court rules to investigate Bolger-Schmidt election plot

Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina (center) was chosen to lead the inquiry into House Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) and Rep. Roy Schmidt (R-Grand Rapids).
Thomas M. Cooley Law School

In Michigan, the Ingham County Circuit Court voted to empanel a one-judge grand jury to look into charges of illegal activities by State Representative Roy Schmidt (R-Grand Rapids) and House Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Marshall).

The investigation will look into whether any laws were broken when Bolger and Schmidt coordinated Schmidt's switch to the Republican Party and made an effort to set up a patsy Democrat in Schmidt's district to run against him.

More from MPRN's Rick Pluta:

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Politics & Government
1:31 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Top state Democrats want new special investigation into Schmidt scandal

State Representative Roy Schmidt (R-Grand Rapids)
Michigan GOP file photo

Senate Minority leader Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer want a special investigation into the case of Democrat-turned-Republican State Representative Roy Schmidt.

The Kent County Prosecutor says Schmidt and House Speaker Jase Bolger tried to “perpetrate a fraud” on voters. But he says they didn’t commit any crimes. You can read his full report that was released last month here.

But Whitmer isn’t so sure. She believes there’s evidence to prove that Schmidt and others conspired to commit perjury and obstructed justice.

“My biggest fear is that people just brush it off as, you know, one of those odious things that happens in the capitol and it’s just not the case. It is very serious,” Whitmer said.

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Politics & Government
3:33 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Prosecutor says Bolger-Schmidt investigation halted to influence election

Michigan Rep. Roy Schmidt (R-Grand Rapids), and Speaker of the House Jase Bolger (R-Monroe).

Republican Kent County Prosecutor Bill Forsyth said today he halted the investigation into Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Monroe) and Rep. Roy Schmidt (R-Grand Rapids) because he wanted the information about Bolger and Schmidt's scheme to be made public prior to the election.

If he continued with his investigation, the Detroit News reports, Forsyth said it could have continued beyond November.

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11:10 am
Mon August 20, 2012

Detective: Bolger and Schmidt may have conspired to commit perjury

Lead in text: 
Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Monroe) and Rep. Roy Schmidt (R-Grand Rapids) have both apologized for their role in setting up a "patsy" Democratic candidate to run against Schmidt. But there are calls for more than just an apology.
LANSING -- A Michigan State Police detective said he believed House Speaker Jase Bolger and state Rep. Roy Schmidt may have conspired to commit perjury when they recruited a fake Democratic candidate to run for a Grand Rapids House seat, records obtained by the Free Press show. Detective Sgt.
Politics
2:53 pm
Fri August 10, 2012

Can Democrats win back the state House in November?

We are now three days out from Tuesday’s Primary where there was a lot of attention paid to the state’s Republican Senate primary and various U.S. Congressional races. So, we thought it was time to give state lawmakers and their races a little love.

Primarily Speaking

In just about two thirds of these local races the primary pretty much determined who the winner will be in November. Because of the way the lines are drawn, most districts are decidedly Republican or Democratic. So, the primary settles the question three months before the general election.

That leaves just about a third of the races left; races that are really fought between a Republican and a Democrat… where incumbency, the strength of the national and statewide tickets and fights over issues and policy matter.

Can Democrats Win Back the State House?

Control of the state House is in play this year. In 2010, largely on the strength of a surge nationwide for Republicans, the GOP took a commanding majority – 64 to 46 – in the state House.  Out of 110 seats, Democrats need to turn at least 10 of them to win back control. That’s a lot. But we’ve seen dramatic swings in recent House elections. So, Democrats see it as tough, but do-able.

In the Thumb, Democrats lost the Republican primary. That’s because incumbent Republican Kurt Damrow ran into some problems and he had become such a liability that his local Republican Party kicked him out. Former Democratic Representative Terry Brown won’t have as easy a time against Dan Grimshaw.

In Grand Rapids, Democrats won the Republican primary when the badly damaged Roy Schmidt barely won re-nomination over a write-in opponent, but only on the strength of absentee ballots cast before the scandal over how he switched parties and tried to rig his own re-election by recruiting a fake Democrat broke into the news. Political-newcomer Winnie Brinks is the Democrat on the ballot. And, Schmidt’s name is toxic. Candidates typically love high name identification, but not this kind.

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It's Just Politics
2:57 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

Roy Schmidt goes from political prize to the GOP’s white elephant

Every Friday Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta take an inside look at state politics

There was a continued drip, drip, drip of new details to emerge in the state Representative Roy Schmidt ballot scandal. The latest: a new set of text messages obtained by The Detroit Free Press and MLive.com from the Kent County prosecutor’s office.

"Dirty as hell"

One text is from Schmidt’s nephew to Matt Mozjak , the patsy who Schmidt recruited to appear on the ballot as a sham Democrat to ensure that he wouldn't have a real Democratic opponent once he made his jump to the Republican Party as a part of a scheme hatched with state House Speaker Jase Bolger.

In one of the texts, Schmidt’s nephew writes to Mozcak, “obviously my uncle is dirty as hell” and, “he’s got a lot of powerful [people] behind him.”

And it just keeps piling up on Schmidt.  The first state House Republican – Representative Ken Yonker, also from the Grand Rapids area – has endorsed a write-in opponent in the Republican primary. Schmidt has gone from a trophy for the House Republicans to a white elephant.

None of which, of course, is good news for House Speaker Jase Bolger, who continues to resist calls to step down as the top dog in the House. The pressure, however, has not reached anything close to critical mass.

Save me... from myself

So, what does a politician do when he's been caught in a political scandal? Well, how about introducing some legislation? House Republicans have drafted new election  reform bills. But Democrats are calling it hypocritical. “I find it fascinating that the speaker of the House is issuing press releases about election reforms because he’s the one who got caught," said Democratic state Representative Barb Byrum.

Election reform: The issue du jour

Now, Democrats have their own elections package and they say they’re coming up with more.  It appears the stage is set for a whole lot of election reform one-upsmanship in the state House. Bolger says only serious election reforms will be considered - he wants nothing that’s about scoring political points. But, Democrats say Republicans don’t have credibility on this issue.

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Politics & Government
12:33 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Democrats call for election law changes after investigation in Schmidt-Bolger incident

Rep. Roy Schmidt (R-Grand Rapids)
Michigan House Republicans gophouse.com

Democrats are pushing for the changes in the wake of a plot by State Representative Roy Schmidt and Speaker of the House Jase Bolger so Schmidt could switch parties and be re-elected as a Republican.

Earlier this month the Kent County Prosecutor issued a report on his investigation.

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Politics & Government
5:34 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

VIDEO: Protester hangs 'Vaginas Are Revolting' banner on Bolger home

A still apparently from "Laura Love's" video
user lauralovemusic1960 YouTube.com

Police in Marshall confirm they’re investigating what appears to be an instance of a protester trespassing and hanging a banner on the home of state House Speaker Jase Bolger.
    
A woman who calls herself Laura Love posted the 11-second video to YouTube that shows a banner hanging from a porch.

“‘Vaginas Are Revolting' in front of Jase Bolger’s house. I did that. Yeah.”

A Marshall police spokesman says a neighbor reported the incident last Thursday. The police now have the banner.

The woman in the video appears to be the same person who organized a protest the day before at the state Capitol. Her group of about a dozen people stood in the gallery of the state House, sang a song about vaginas to the tune of the Beatles’ “She Loves You,” clapped, and danced for several minutes before re-taking their seats. They were hoping to be kicked out, but no action was taken.

Politics & Government
2:49 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

Republican will challenge party-switching State Rep. Roy Schmidt

Bing Goei inside his Goei Center on Grand Rapids' southwest side.
courtesy photo

A Grand Rapids business owner will challenge a party-switching state representative in the Republican primary on August 7th.

Bing Goei made the announcement at the headquarters of his floral business Friday morning.

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Commentary
11:00 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Commentary: Escaping today’s news

Yesterday, the story of the day was the shocking revelation that the Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives, Jase Bolger, had conspired with a party-switching colleague to try and perpetrate election fraud. Roy Schmidt, the Democrat-turned-Republican from Grand Rapids, tried to use campaign funds to pay a part-time student to put his name on the ballot.

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Politics & Government
3:06 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Democrats call for House inquiry into actions by Schmidt, Bolger

House Speaker Jase Bolger
Jase Bolger Facebook.com

Democrats are calling for a special inquiry into whether House Speaker Jase Bolger and state Representative Roy Schmidt are guilty of ethics violations. A report by the Kent County prosecutor determined the two did not break any laws as they plotted Schmidt’s switch to the Republican Party, but the report says they did attempt to undermine the integrity of an election.

Their scheme included recruiting and paying a fake Democrat who would appear on the ballot against Schmidt. The idea was, the decoy would not campaign.   

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Commentary
12:26 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Commentary: Perpetrating a fraud

Jase Bolger, the Speaker of Michigan’s House of Representatives, secretly conspired with State Representative Roy Schmidt of Grand Rapids to perpetrate a fraud on the people.

They did that by trying to rig an election.

That’s the conclusion of Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth, who released a stunning report yesterday. The prosecutor, like those two men, is a member of the Republican Party. Except that Forsyth indicated that as a Republican, he is embarrassed.

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Politics & Government
12:25 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

'Vaginagate': Group delivers signatures asking for GOP apology

Lisa Brown
Jeff Winston Youtube.com

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A group upset over last month's silencing of a female Democratic lawmaker who said "vagina" during House debate about anti-abortion legislation and another who said "vasectomy" have delivered over 115,000 signatures asking for an apology.

Members of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy For America brought the signatures Wednesday morning to the office of House Speaker Jase Bolger.

The signers want GOP leaders to make a public apology to state Reps. Lisa Brown and Barb Byrum after suspending their speaking privileges for one day.

Bolger spokesman Ari Adler said Tuesday that he doesn't anticipate any apology is forthcoming. He says the pair "violated the decorum of the House" and "were gaveled down for it."

Several women's groups also planned a Wednesday rally at the Capitol to promote women's issues.

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