Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Contact: David Holtz, (313) 300-4454

Emails showing political cover-up point to need for more transparency

LANSING, MI—Progress Michigan called today on the state Legislature to release all emails and other communications between lawmakers and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, including those of a lobbying nature, in light of the disclosure this week in Oakland County of damning emails involving Republican state lawmakers.
 “It’s clear from these Oakland County emails that the state legislative process has been hijacked by Republicans more interested in building political power than creating jobs,” said David Holtz, executive director of Progress Michigan. “Not only did they abuse their power to thoroughly corrupt the redistricting process in Oakland County, they concocted a cover-up based on lies about saving taxpayer money.
“This is a similar storyline we witnessed last fall when it was disclosed that the tax-exempt Mackinac Center was working behind the scenes to manipulate the legislative process in order to attack teachers with retaliatory laws.  As citizens we have a right to know how our laws are being written and shaped and it’s clear there’s a lot going on that we don’t know.  Lawmakers should release all their communications with the Mackinac Center to prove that they are not being influenced by a group that has no business lobbying at the Capitol.”
The Midland-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy, registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c) 3 tax-exempt, charitable organization, was discovered last November to be actively influencing legislation regarding health benefits for teachers and other public workers.   The Center claims, in its filings with the IRS, that it does not engage in lobbying. The disclosure came in a series of emails obtained by Progress Michigan involving Mackinac Center staff members and Republican state Rep. Tom McMillin, then chair of the House Oversight, Reform and Ethics Committee. 

Internal emails obtained by Oakland County Democrats this week show Republican legislators’ claim they wanted to change the redistricting process for the county board to save money was a cover story for their real goal of denying Democrats their first-ever majority on the board.


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