FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, July 13, 2010
CONTACT: Leigh Fifelski (517) 999-3646

Right-wing Republicans Target Voters with ‘Progressive’ Mailings

LANSING, MI–Progress Michigan today warned voters in Washtenaw County’s August 3 Democratic primary election about misleading mailers from a right-wing group funded by leading Michigan Republicans that touts a Democratic candidate’s “progressive values.”

Copies of postcards mailed to voters by The Great Lakes Education Project political action committee that were obtained by Progress Michigan were sent in support of Democrat Pam Byrnes in the 18th District state Senate race. One postcard attacked Byrnes’ primary opponent, Rebekah Warren.

The Great Lakes Education Project PAC, which promotes privatizing schools and opposes public education funding, is financed by leading Republicans, including Betsy and Dick DeVos and Michigan Republican Party Chair Ron Weiser. Campaign finance reports show the DeVos’ each contributed $37,500 to the PAC this year. In 2008, Wieser contributed $50,000 to the PAC. The vast majority of political contributions from the group go to conservative Republican candidates, according to campaign finance reports on file with the Michigan Secretary of State.

“Progressive voters in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti–who comprise a vast majority of likely voters in this Senate Democratic primary race–are being hit with misleading mailings by one of the most far-right political action committees in Michigan. Most people reading these postcards would think they came from supporters of progressive values and public education when, in fact, just the opposite is true,” said David Holtz, Executive Director of Progress Michigan. “What would Democratic primary voters targeted by these mailings think if they knew that they were funded by the political right and financially supported by leading Republicans? Voters have a right to know who’s really behind these mailings and why a right-wing group aggressively opposed to public education and funded by prominent Republicans is pushing a progressive education message in a Democratic primary. Obviously they are trying to influence this race and it raises lots of questions.”

Holtz pointed out that one of the postcards mailed by the Great Lakes Education Project talks about Pam Byrnes’ “improving our schools for all children and supporting progressive values.'”

“If Dick and Betsy DeVos and the Chair of the Republican Party are so keen on promoting ‘progressive values’ perhaps they should be donating money to Progress Michigan instead of the Great Lakes Education Project PAC,” said Holtz. “This is the kind of shadowy, dirty politics that disgusts voters and turns people off and it should stop.”

View the mailers:

Mailer 1 – Rebekah Warren

Mailer 2 – Pam Burns A

Mailer 3 – Pam Burns B


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