“I believe in transparency in government.” –Speaker Jase Bolger

Last week the Snyder administration announced that Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, Speaker Jase Bolger, and Sen. Arlan Meekhof would be leading an official state trade mission to the Netherlands.

According to MLive, “The MEDC is paying for its staff members and Calley, while companies and other economic development groups will cover their own costs. Most of Bolger’s and Meekhof’s expenses are being covered by the West Michigan Global Initiative, with some coming from their own pockets.”

So, what exactly is the West Michigan Global Initiative? The name sounds innocent enough.

Surprise! It’s a front group for corporate special interests.

You can view a list of their sponsors here – it includes at least three corporations with ties to the billionaire DeVos family, several big banks, and special interest lobbying firms.

That probably explains why a multi-client lobbyist named Brendan Ringlever is traveling with Cally, Bolger, and Meekhof – a fact that the Snyder administration and Bolger’s office has conveniently neglected to disclose online or to the media.


The Snyder administration and Jase Bolger talk a good game on government transparency, but apparently they don’t think the rules apply to them.

Michigan taxpayers deserve to know which special interests are trying to influence our elected leaders and why. If a special interest lobbying firm is paying for any portion of this glitzy state trade mission, the Snyder administration and Bolger should disclose it immediately.

It is the height of hypocrisy for Bolger to demand greater transparency from everyone but himself – especially since Bolger is still under an active grand jury investigation for election fraud.

Michigan deserves better from our elected officials.

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