Roy Schmidt

Politics & Government
11:26 am
Mon August 12, 2013

A small glimpse into the Bolger-Schmidt grand jury probe

Roy Schmidt (L), and Jase Bolger (R).

Jase Bolger said he made some mistakes in plotting Roy Schmidt's party switch and recruitment of a patsy Democratic candidate to run against the newly-crowned-Republican. But he said he broke no laws - and after a year-long investigation - a grand-jury of one agreed. 

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Law
1:20 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

Grand juror clears Bolger, Schmidt of crimes in election scandal

Roy Schmidt and Jase Bolger.

There will be no criminal charges in the election-rigging scandal that embarrassed state House Speaker Jase Bolger and cost another lawmaker his job. Judge Rosemarie Aqualina in Lansing says there’s no evidence any crimes were committed.

This wraps up a year-long inquiry based on a complaint filed by Democratic leaders.

The investigation focused on the leap by state Representative Roy Schmidt of Grand Rapids from the Democrats to the Republicans.

Bolger encouraged and helped arrange the party switch, which added one more vote to his House Republican majority.

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It's Just Politics
1:49 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

Duggan and Dugeon poised for alpha-battle

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

This week, it’s another shenanigans edition of It’s Just Politics. Thanks to Jack Lessenberry for his explainer on the latest political mischief coming out of Detroit. It’s important to note this kind of political behavior is nothing new: Very crowded primary ballots with names that are very similar; recruited by opposing campaigns. Efforts to divide the vote can also take into account ethnicity, gender when one side recruits candidates with no hope of winning but, can maybe split the vote to sink another campaign come Election Day. No matter what you think of political games, they’re pretty normal.

Mike Duggan, former hospital CEO, prosecutor and problem-solver for the late Wayne County Executive Ed McNamara launched his Detroit mayoral write-in campaign after he was booted from the ballot after one his opponents challenged him for filing his nomination petitions before he was a city resident for a full-year. But a lot of experts were giving his write-in effort a pretty good shot at getting him into the two-person runoff this coming fall. He’s topping the polls and appeared to have a good shot at winning a spot on the November runoff.

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Law
5:51 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

House Democrats push for changes to ethics, election laws during 'Sunshine Week'

State Representative Winnie Brinks at a June press conference announcing she'll run.
Courtesy photo Michigan Democratic Party

It's Sunshine Week, an annual push for open government and the public’s right to know stuff.

Democrats in the state House tied the introduction of a package of bills to Sunshine Week. The bills include a number of changes to Michigan's laws and constitution regarding ethics, campaign finance, and elections.

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Politics & Government
7:00 am
Thu February 28, 2013

In this morning's news: New Supreme Court justice, health care exchange, party switch investigation

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Governor Snyder chooses a Republican judge to replace Supreme Court Justice Hathaway

"Governor Rick Snyder has picked a Republican judge from Macomb County to fill a vacancy on the Michigan Supreme Court. Judge David Viviano replaces Justice Diane Hathaway, who resigned in disgrace as she faced bank fraud charges," Rick Pluta reports.
 

Michigan moves forward with health care exchange

"A bill to set up a state website where people can shop for health insurance has passed its first hurdle in the state Legislature. A House panel Wednesday voted to accept more than $30 million from Washington to set up the health care exchange. It would be a partnership between the state and the federal government under the Affordable Care Act," Jake Neher reports.

Schmidt and Bolger case extended

A one person grand jury is extending an investigation until August into a political party switch scheme involving then Rep. Roy Schmidt and House Speaker Jase Bolger. As the Associated Press reports,

"Representative Roy Schmidt's switch to the GOP last May came under scrutiny when he offered money to a political novice to run as a Democrat against him. Democrats say Bolger possibly conspired to obstruct justice, though a Kent County prosecutor said no crimes were committed."

Politics & Government
12:16 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Michigan House Speaker escapes close race, holds first post-election session

Roy Schmidt (R) lost his seat, Jase Bolger continues on.

House Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) eked out a narrow victory on Tuesday night winning over Democratic challenger Bill Farmer (D) by a mere 757 votes.

Democrats picked up more seats in the State House, but Republicans hold onto their majority, so Bolger, in all likelihood, will continue on as Speaker (House members will hold a leadership vote this afternoon).

Bolger is tweeting about the start of today's legislative session, the first session being held since the election:

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Politics & Government
3:52 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Lawmaker who switched political parties loses seat to Democratic challenger

State Rep. Roy Schmidt (R-Grand Rapids)
Michigan GOP gophouse.com

The Grand Rapids lawmaker who caused a scandal by switching political parties earlier this year will not return to Lansing. State Representative Roy Schmidt was defeated by his Democratic Party challenger, and political newcomer, Winnie Brinks.

“This wasn’t something I was planning, it was something people asked me to do (following Schmidt’s party switch).  I’m really excited about this opportunity to serve and to apply the skills I’ve learned in the last twenty years working in schools and non-profits to helping people in a more systematic way,” Brinks said.

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Politics & Government
7:45 am
Fri November 2, 2012

Political party switch scandal inspires bizarre election in Grand Rapids

Roy Schmidt rallies with Democrats against 2011 budgets cuts from the state to K-12 schools. One year later he decided to switch political parties.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

One of the most unusual political races this election is playing out in Grand Rapids. It’s the story, the saga that is the race for the 76th State House seat.

Back in May, there was a Democratic lawmaker who wanted to become a Republican. Switching political parties is not unheard of in Michigan, although it hasn’t happened since the 1990s.

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Politics & Government
4:33 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

Bolger-Schmidt complaint dismissed by Michigan Secretary of State

Rep. Roy Schmidt (R-Grand Rapids), and House Speaker Jase Bolger (R- Marshall)

State election officials have dismissed all but one of several complaints filed against state House Speaker Jase Bolger and state Representative Roy Schmidt.

The complaints of illegally using taxpayer resources were filed against the Republican lawmakers by Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer.

Bolger and Schmidt plotted Schmidt's switch to the Republican Party and tried to rig a re-election campaign by recruiting a fake Democrat to run.

More from the Detroit News:

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Politics & Government
5:12 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

Schmidt’s Grand Rapids house seat now a four-way race in November

Bing Goei (center) speaks with supporters after he announces he'll run as a write-in candidate in November.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The race to become the next state representative for Grand Rapids’ 76th District is getting even weirder. It’s now a four-way race between Democrat-turned-Republican Roy Schmidt, political newcomer Winnie Brinks for the Democrats, independent candidate Keith Allard and now a write-in candidate Bing Goei.

Goei made the announcement today. His write-in campaign to unseat Roy Schmidt in the Republican primary did surprisingly well. But Schmidt managed to hang on to the GOP nomination by a very slim margin.

Now Goei says people are begging him to run in the November election anyway.

“When people call on me I have this crazy thing about responding to them,” Goei said.

He admits his odds are not so good.

“If I understand history correct, that if (insert laughs from Goei and his supporters) well, when I win that it will be the first write-in candidate who has won a state house of representative position,” Goei said.

But pressed on this issue by a reporter Goei insisted his data shows his is a “very winnable campaign”.

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Politics & Government
2:06 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Democratic challenger says K-12 funding would be top priority in Lansing

Democratic candidate Winnie Brinks stands with Grand Rapids Public Schools' parent Matthew Patulski in front of Stocking Elementary School. The school closed two years ago.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

A political newcomer who’s challenging Democrat-turned-Republican State Representative Roy Schmidt says she’d work to get more funding for K-12 education.

Democrat Winnie Brinks is a case worker at a non-profit organization. At a very sparsely attended press conference (I was the only reporter there) Tuesday she said she's first and foremost as a mother whose main concern is her children’s public education.

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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
4:02 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

More media than constituents at Schmidt’s first post-party-switch coffee hours

State Representative Roy Schmidt (R-Grand Rapids) meets with a realtor during his coffee hours Tuesday morning.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Thursday morning the public got their first chance to sit down one-on-one with Democrat-turned-Republican Roy Schmidt since he switched political parties in May. The State Representative from Grand Rapids has been dealing with the political fallout ever since.

But at the coffee visit things seemed back to normal; assuming you ignore the massive media presence, which is not normal at these kinds of informal events.

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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.

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta, August 10th, 2012

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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