News from Progress Michigan

February 15, 2023

Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574,

Ottawa County Board of Commissioners Responds to FOIA Request

Emails appear to show right-wing commissioners coordinating prior to being sworn in

MICHIGAN – Progress Michigan filed a Freedom of Information Act request to learn more about what might have been happening behind closed doors in the weeks before Ottawa Impact commissioners were officially sworn in. The organization published the responsive documents to that request today.

All documents received by Progress Michigan in response to the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners FOIA request can be found here. The response raised the following concerning revelations:

  • As early as mid-November, the Ottawa Impact commissioners-elect were working together and making decisions about actions to take once they took office.
  • On April 21, 2022, Ottawa Impact President and now Board of Commissioners Chair Joe Moss, sent an email to an incumbent commissioner at his official government email address, copying multiple elected officials at their government email addresses, urging this commissioner to withdraw as a candidate. 
  • On November 19, 2022, Joe Moss also sent an email to the current commissioners requesting they not approve ARPA projects so the Ottawa Impact commissioners-elect could make those decisions.

“Far from their claim to champion transparency, Ottawa Impact seems to prefer coordinating in secret,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “The people of Ottawa County deserved to take part in the process of the sweeping decisions these far-right candidates made before even being sworn into office. Their efforts to conceal their agenda even before officially representing Ottawa County citizens leave little hope that they will adhere to the Open Meetings Act requirement to discuss decisions in front of the public. We’re having a hard time hearing their ‘Where Freedom Rings’ bell from underneath all these suffocating layers of secrecy. Ottawa County residents have a right to know what their commissioners are planning and have input into those decisions.”