press release


News from Progress Michigan

August 24, 2021

Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574,

Redistricting Commissioner Speaks with Unknown DC Individuals About Law Firm Hire

Commissioner Clark (R) spoke with persons outside of the Commission about hiring a Republican-linked law firm

MICHIGAN – On August 12, 2021, Republican redistricting commissioner Doug Clark revealed he had spoken, outside of a public forum, with two unnamed persons from Washington D.C. about BakerHostetler, a GOP-linked law firm with a history of defending gerrymandered maps. Progress Michigan seeks answers about whether Clark broke Commission rules by discussing the hiring of the firm outside of official commission functions. 

Michigan’s Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission has strict rules, outlined in Michigan’s Constitution, for ensuring transparency with the public. All communications regarding redistricting matters are required to occur either in a previously noticed public forum or in writing. During a recent meeting, where the Commission interviewed BakerHostetler and deliberated on their hire, Commissioner Clark noted he “had conversations [about BakerHostetler] with two people not on the Commission and they are from the D.C. area.” Clark not only chose not to name the individuals, but also failed to provide written records of his conversations with them.

“Commissioner Clark’s comments are concerning because it’s not clear if he communicated with these individuals in keeping with the rules of the Commission,” said Sam Inglot, deputy director of Progress Michigan. “Those rules ensure transparency with Michiganders who voted to create this Commission because they didn’t want their districts drawn in the dark any longer. The hiring of this Republican, gerrymandering law firm was contentious, with a litany of public comments opposed to the partisan hire. It appears Clark did not listen to those comments, but put plenty of stock in his conversations with people from Washington D.C. Commissioner Clark should reveal who he spoke with and provide any accompanying documents or communications records regarding those conversations so the public can continue to hold the Commission accountable to their duty to draw fair, nonpartisan maps so everyone in Michigan has an equal voice.”

On Monday, Progress Michigan announced it had filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the ICRC requesting “all communications about redistricting matters between any of the commissioners and any other person who is not a commissioner.”