Judge denies GOP gov. candidate Ryan Kelley's request to carry gun

A federal judge has denied a request by Republican gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley to possess a firearm while he faces charges related to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol

Kelley, who was arrested by the FBI at his Allendale Township home last week, is charged with four misdemeanor counts: knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds on Jan. 6, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, knowingly engaging in any act of physical violence against person or property in any restricted building or grounds, and willfully injuring or committing any depredation against any property of the United States.

Kelley is one five Republican GOP hopefuls left on the Aug. 2 ballot after five others were tossed off due to a fraudulent petition signature scandal, joining businessman Kevin Rinke, right-wing media personality Tudor Dixon, chiropractor Garrett Soldano and the Rev. Ralph Rebandt.

The winner of the GOP primary will face Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Nov. 8.

Appearing via video in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Thursday, Kelley’s attorney requested that his client, who has a concealed carry permit, be allowed to continue carrying a firearm while campaigning.

Gary Springstead said Kelley, who he referred to as a “high-profile candidate,” doesn’t have campaign security and wanted the weapon in order to protect himself.

Judge Robin Meriweather sided with federal prosecutors who objected to Kelley’s request, noting that the standard release terms for defendants include a prohibition on firearm possession. Kelley, who is free on bond, must also surrender his passport.

Meriweather, however, granted a defense request to allow the 40-year-old Kelley to avoid notifying pretrial services while traveling within Michigan or crossing into other states while traveling from one part of Michigan to another.

Court documents indicate that the FBI first received an anonymous tip on Jan. 16, 2021, that Kelley was among those who were illegally on the Capitol grounds during the riot.

“This anonymous tip contained the same information posted on the Twitter account “@MichiganTea” in which the same or similar pictures were used to identify KELLEY at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021,” stated the FBI affidavit, which included a screenshot from the @MichiganTea account.

The affidavit further said numerous people who knew Kelley positively identified him in pictures taken on Jan. 6, including a law enforcement officer from the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office.

A July 7 preliminary hearing was set for Kelley, who will be required to appear in-person in Washington, D.C.

If convicted, Kelley faced a maximum punishment on each charge of up to a year in federal prison or a fine of up to $100,000.


Michigan Advance is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Michigan Advance maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Susan Demas for questions: info@michiganadvance.com. Follow Michigan Advance on Facebook and Twitter.

GOP-led Michigan Senate again derails LGBTQ+ Pride resolution

For the second time in as many weeks, Republican leaders in the Michigan Senate have delayed a vote on a resolution recognizing June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month.

The GOP majority originally postponed consideration on June 7 of Senate Resolution 149, sponsored by Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield), the first openly gay senator in Michigan. No reason was given, nor was a timeline on when it might be taken up again.

On Tuesday, Moss again sought to bring the measure to the floor. When Sen. Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton) attempted to refer it to the Government Operations Committee, where bills typically go to die, Democrats objected, noting that the resolution was passed by the Senate last year.

Nesbitt, saying the objection was not proper, obtained a party line vote concurring that it was not valid. After some procedural issues were resolved, Moss took to the floor to question why GOP leaders were actively thwarting a resolution they passed just the year before.

“The Republican leadership regresses and again throws Pride Month back into the trash heap,” said Moss. “I guess the cruelty is the point. There are LGBTQ people like me in all sectors of Michigan economy who only wish to contribute, be good neighbors and not have the government interfere with their freedom to live their lives.”

Moss also said Republicans were choosing to exploit divisiveness, noting that in 2022 they had called people “groomers” and protested drag queens.

The reference was to recent attempts by some GOP senators to fundraise off of anti-LGBTQ+ attacks, including Sen. Lana Theis (R-Brighton) naming Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) in an April email that appeared to accuse her of “grooming” children because she supports LGBTQ+ rights. McMorrow responded in a floor speech calling the baseless accusations “hateful.” The video that went viral and won the praise of leaders like President Joe Biden.

In the end, Moss said the fact GOP leaders wouldn’t even consider adopting his resolution “says a lot more about you than it does about us.”

In a statement, Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) said he had made suggestions to Moss he believed would make the resolution “more reflective of the diversity of opinions in the Senate.” Shirkey said when they couldn’t reach an agreement, the resolution was sent to committee.

However, Moss told reporters that Shirkey had sought to change not just the language of his resolution, but its meaning, as well.

In addition to proposing to remove language about the “slow and insufficient” government response to the HIV/AIDS crisis, Moss said Shirkey wanted to add a disclaimer that would have said: “Though not every citizen in Michigan agrees with the lifestyle of the LGBT community, it is agreed that every life is special, precious, unique and loved by the the creator, and each person is created in God’s image.”

Polling has shown that almost three-quarters of Michigan voters support anti-discrimination legislation for LGBTQ+ people.

Moss says he refused to add the language to the resolution as it implied being gay is a choice.

Moss’ resolution was eventually referred to the Government Operations Committee.

Michigan LGBTQ community still waiting for business leaders to step up

Moss had attempted twice before, in 2019 and 2020, to get the resolution passed before finally achieving success in 2021, as the Advance previously reported.

The resolution noted the struggle of the LGBTQ+ movement with a “slow and insufficient government response to assist those with HIV/AIDS and the ongoing effort today to protect the rights of the LGBTQ community,” as well the victories including “the historic Obergefell decision in 2015 which affirmed marriage equality nationwide and the recent Bostock decision in 2020 that upheld federal employment protections for the LGBTQ community.”

The Obergefell decision in particular is believed to be in jeopardy of being overturned if the U.S.Supreme Court rules against Roe v. Wade, as is expected later this month.

June was first recognized federally as Pride Month in 1999 by then-President Bill Clinton. Biden has formally declared June as Pride Month.

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also has declared June 2022 as Pride Month. The resolution notes that “Michigan is home to an estimated 373,000 residents who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+)” and “Michigan’s LGBTQ+ residents contribute to the fabric of our society, hold positions across sectors of our economy, and live in every corner of our state.”

The Senate later adjourned for the day, but not before approving a resolution by Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte) commemorating “the 68th anniversary of the addition of the words ‘under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance.”


Michigan Advance is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Michigan Advance maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Susan Demas for questions: info@michiganadvance.com. Follow Michigan Advance on Facebook and Twitter.

Republican James Craig says he was ‘robbed,’ will mount write-in campaign for Michigan governor

After failing to get the courts to reverse a decision that kept him off the August primary ballot, former Detroit Police Chief James Craig said he will run for the GOP gubernatorial nomination as a write-in candidate.

Craig made the announcement Thursday night on “Let It Rip” on WJBK-TV.

Speaking with host Roop Raj, Craig said he was not giving up, despite the Michigan Supreme Court deciding in favor of a state Bureau of Elections (BOE) ruling that he and several GOP candidates, including businessman Perry Johnson, should be denied a spot because they submitted thousands of fraudulent petition signatures.

“They have robbed me, and robbed Perry and guess what — write-in,” he told Raj. “There are so many people that have reached out through my campaign who have said, ‘Chief, you are a fighter; don’t give up; continue to fight.’ Guess what? I’m going to.”

Craig also said he “absolutely” had the name recognition to mount a successful write-in campaign.

Countering that opinion was Johnson, who also appeared on the program, and said it would be very difficult to win a write-in campaign.

“I think you have to get on the ballot,” said Johnson. “That’s why I filed in the court.”

Johnson, a self-described “quality guru,” on Monday filed suit in the U.S. District Court for Michigan’s Eastern District, seeking an injunction to halt the printing of ballots and an order overturning the decision to keep his name from appearing on them.

Craig, Johnson, financial adviser Michael Markey and businesswoman Donna Brandenburg had all appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court to overturn lower court rulings that also favored the BOE ruling and place them on the August primary ballot.

But in a 6-1 majority opinion, the justices said claims from Johnson, Craig and Markey lacked merit because they did not demonstrate that the Board of State Canvassers had a “clear legal duty” to certify their names to the ballot when they lacked the required number of valid petition signatures.

The court later also ruled against Brandenburg.

State elections officials recommended five candidates be dropped from the ballot after the Bureau of Elections (BOE) released a report detailing an “unprecedented” number of fraudulent signatures. That recommendation was then upheld when the Board of State Canvassers (BSC) deadlocked along party lines.

One of the candidates, Michigan State Police Capt. Michael Brown, had already dropped out of the race.

Craig’s decision came on the same day fellow GOP gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley was arraigned on federal charges related to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol following a raid by the FBI Thursday morning at his home in Allendale Township in West Michigan.

Currently there are five GOP hopefuls on the Aug. 2 ballot: Kelley, businessman Kevin Rinke, right-wing media personality Tudor Dixon, chiropractor Garrett Soldano and the Rev. Ralph Rebandt.

The winner of the GOP primary will face Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Nov. 8.


Michigan Advance is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Michigan Advance maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Susan Demas for questions: info@michiganadvance.com. Follow Michigan Advance on Facebook and Twitter.

Michigan Supreme Court denies GOP candidate's appeal to get back on the ballot

Another Republican gubernatorial candidate had an appeal denied by the Michigan Supreme Court.

The court on Wednesday declined to overturn a decision by the Board of State Canvassers that businesswoman Donna Brandenburg did not qualify to appear on the Aug. 2 Republican primary ballot.

Brandenberg was among five Republican candidates for governor who were tossed off of the ballot after the Bureau of Elections (BOE) released a report last month detailing an “unprecedented” number of fraudulent signatures on their petitions.

That ruling was then upheld when the Board of State Canvassers (BSC) deadlocked along party lines, prompting Brandenberg and several other candidates to turn to the courts for relief.

While there is no evidence the candidates were aware the petitions contained fraudulent signatures, state election officials say it is ultimately the candidates responsibility to make sure they have enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Brandenberg is just the latest GOP candidate that has failed to convince the courts to intervene. Self-described “quality guru” Perry Johnson, former Detroit police Chief James Craig and investment adviser Michael Markey also sued in state court to get on the ballot but were rejected last week.

On Monday, Johnson took his case to federal court, arguing that he would “suffer immediate and irreparable harm because defendants’ unconstitutional enforcement of the statutory signature requirements.”

That case is pending.

Craig has said he’s exploring options to get back on the ballot.

There are currently five GOP hopefuls on the Aug. 2 ballot: Far-right activist Ryan Kelley, businessman Kevin Rinke, right-wing media personality Tudor Dixon, chiropractor Garrett Soldano and the Rev. Ralph Rebandt.

The winner of the GOP primary will be up against Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Nov. 8.


Michigan Advance is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Michigan Advance maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Susan Demas for questions: info@michiganadvance.com. Follow Michigan Advance on Facebook and Twitter.

Michigan Republican on getting booted from ballot over fraudulent signatures: ‘Not going to let this go’

Despite a Michigan Supreme Court decision that kept Republican James Craig off of the August primary ballot, the former Detroit police chief says he is “evaluating next steps” in a bid to stay in the gubernatorial race.

Craig appeared on Fox News Sunday and told host Maria Bartiromo that someone was “absolutely” trying to steal the election and he’s “not going to let this go.”

“We had so much momentum going in this campaign, consistently double digits ahead of all the other GOP candidates,” said Craig. “And also at times tied with the incumbent governor and with independents. Two polls showed I was ahead with independents. So let’s face it, I was a clear threat.”

Craig was among five Republican candidates for governor who were tossed off of the ballot after the Bureau of Elections (BOE) released a report last month detailing an “unprecedented” number of fraudulent signatures.

The other candidates are: financial adviser Michael Markey, businessman Perry Johnson, businesswoman Donna Brandenburg and Michigan State Police Capt. Mike Brown. Brown has dropped out of the race.

That recommendation was then upheld when the Board of State Canvassers (BSC) deadlocked along party lines. The Michigan Supreme Court then ruled Friday 6-1 in favor of the BOE decision that three Johnson, Craig and Markey should be denied a spot. The court did not issue a ruling in Brandenburg’s suit.

Craig, who previously said he was considering a write-in campaign, said he believes the courts didn’t “follow the statutes,” and argued elections officials should have individually examined each signature and not disqualified entire pages that had been submitted by suspected fraudulent circulators.

BOE staff are working to refer incidents of apparent fraud to law enforcement for criminal investigation.

The rulings have left five GOP candidates on the ballot, which had to be finalized by last Friday: Businessman Kevin Rinke, right-wing media personality Tudor Dixon, chiropractor Garrett Soldano, far-right activist Ryan Kelley and the Rev. Ralph Rebandt.

The winner will face Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Nov. 8.


Michigan Advance is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Michigan Advance maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Susan Demas for questions: info@michiganadvance.com. Follow Michigan Advance on Facebook and Twitter.

Michigan clerks grapple with Republican's 'mini-investigation' into 2020 election

While municipal clerks across Michigan are busy preparing for the August primary elections, several of them are also contending with requests from a Republican state lawmaker about the 2020 election.

The office of state Rep. Ryan Berman (R-Commerce Twp.) recently sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to Delhi Charter Township Clerk Evan Hope, asking for the front and back of every ballot from the Nov. 3, 2020, election for Precinct 6 of Delhi Township in Ingham County.

“I would like the copies to be photoscanned, however, if one is not available our team can come to the Clerk’s office to photoscan them ourselves with our own machine,” stated the May 26 request from Joseph Stevenson, Berman’s legislative assistant reviewed by the Michigan Advance. “This is part of a mini-investigation our office is currently doing on precincts across the state.”

Gongwer News Service reported last month that Berman had voluntarily stepped down from his committee assignments to concentrate on legislation and “special projects,” which was confirmed for the Advance by Gideon D’Assandro, House GOP spokesman.

Berman began conducting the “mini-investigation” while he was still a GOP candidate for Michigan attorney general. In April, he lost the Michigan GOP endorsement to Kalamazoo lawyer Matthew DePerno, who has been involved in so-called “forensic audit” efforts in Michigan and Arizona.

At the time, Berman said his investigation was in response to “widespread claims of machine vote-flipping after 2020,” although all of those claims have come without proof and have been debunked by over 250 state and local audits which have confirmed President Joe Biden’s more than 154,000-vote victory over former President Trump.

Tracy Wimmer, spokesperson for Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, told the Advance there is no legitimate reason to continue questioning an election that has been thoroughly examined.

“Hundreds of audits, numerous court cases and a Republican state Senate Oversight Committee report all affirmed the accuracy of the 2020 election results, and the truth about its integrity,” said Wimmer. “Documents relating to the election, including the ballots, are publicly available and anyone who wishes can view them and see the truth for themselves.”

Despite that, Berman previously issued FOIAs for ballots in three precincts in Allegan, Antrim and Macomb counties, even sending staff members to two of the precincts where they took ultra-HD scans of the ballots. The result, released April 9, was a conclusion that “given the near-exact match of the hand recount to the machine counts from precincts around the state using different machine types, it seems highly improbable that machines flipped votes in Michigan.”

It is unclear why Berman has now directed his attention to Delhi Township in Ingham County. A request for comment has gone unreturned by the representative.

It’s also a question that Hope would like answered.

“I have no idea why he made the request and why that precinct,” Hope told the Michigan Advance, “especially nearly 19 months since the November 2020 election has passed. My only guess can be that he wants to conduct another audit, in addition to the hundreds of audits that were conducted statewide. Those audits showed that the Election Day results were accurate.”

Hope, who is married to state Rep. Kara Hope (D-Delhi Twp.), says that in his 24 years of experience as a municipal clerk, he knows that voting tabulators are more accurate than whatever process Berman plans.

“Hand counts by humans are more likely to result in errors,” said Evan Hope. “Especially by people who don’t know the rules of counting votes. I would question if he knows how to correctly count overvotes, overvotes caused by invalid write-ins, or ambiguous marks. I’d guess he knows very little about that or how elections work at all. I don’t think someone who knows how elections work would be making this request. But, I’ll admit I’m making an assumption, because he did not tell me what his ‘mini-investigation’ is about. Nor did he ask me any election related questions.”

Hope also questions the timing of the request, considering the effort that will be expended to fulfill it.

“This will take some considerable amount of time,” he said. “And at a time when we are preparing for the August 2022 primary. And since he doesn’t seem to want to tell people what he’s doing, I could assume that’s a tactic as well – consume clerks time with this request so we aren’t prepared for August?”


Michigan Advance is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Michigan Advance maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Susan Demas for questions: info@michiganadvance.com. Follow Michigan Advance on Facebook and Twitter.

Michigan 'quality guru' Perry Johnson remains off August primary ballot after unanimous court ruling

One of the five Republican gubernatorial candidates who were tossed off the August primary ballot last week has lost a key court decision to rescind that decision.
The Michigan Court of Appeals unanimously denied a request from businessman Perry Johnson to provide him a path back onto the ballot. Johnson had sought the decision after the Board of State Canvassers deadlocked last week along party lines on a recommendation by state election officials that he, along with former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, Michigan State Police Capt. Michael Brown, financial adviser Michael Markey and businesswoman Donna Brandenburg, had failed to meet the 15,000-signature threshold because of fraudulent signatures.

Brown has since dropped out of the race.

While there is no evidence the candidates were aware that signatures were being obtained fraudulently, there also appears to be no dispute that they did not meet legal requirements.

Johnson, a self-described “quality guru,” asked the appeals court to order the Michigan Bureau of Elections to examine each petition line by line.

But in a 3-0 opinion, the court ruled that the bureau “did not have a clear legal duty to conduct a comparison of each fraudulent signature against the qualified voter file.” Johnson could appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court.

While the decision was based on Johnson’s appeal, it could also apply to the other disqualified candidates, although separate legal challenges remain pending.

Attorney Mark Brewer, a former Michigan Democratic Party chair, previously told the Michigan Advance that he was dubious any legal challenges would succeed.

“These candidates have massive amounts of forged signatures, and they are not qualified for the ballot,” Brewer said.

Currently, there are five Republican candidates for governor on the August ballot: businessman Kevin Rinke, right-wing media personality Tudor Dixon, chiropractor Garrett Soldano, far-right activist Ryan Kelley and the Rev. Ralph Rebandt.

The winner will square off against Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Nov. 8.

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Michigan Advance is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Michigan Advance maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Susan Demas for questions: info@michiganadvance.com. Follow Michigan Advance on Facebook and Twitter.

Michigan white supremacist leader sentenced on civil disorder charge

The leader of a national white supremacist group was sentenced Tuesday in Michigan on civil disorder charges.

Tuscola County Circuit Court Judge Amy Gierhart ordered Justen Watkins, 25, of Bad Axe to a term of 32 months to 4 years in prison for conspiring to train for a civil disorder and a mandatory consecutive 2 years for felony firearm. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said that one of the charges filed against Watkins – conspiring to train for a civil disorder – marked the first time a defendant has faced the felony in Michigan’s history.

Authorities say Watkins helped lead a group known as The Base, which reportedly ran a “hate camp” for members, where he led tactical and firearms training for participants with the goal of being prepared for the violent overthrow of the government.

The cases were the result of a joint investigation by the Michigan State Police (MSP) Caro Post and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).

Charges against Watkins were initially filed in October 2020, along with a co-defendant, Alfred Gorman, in connection to a December 2019 incident in which authorities say a Dexter family was “terrorized at their home after the men used intimidation tactics and posted messages to other members of The Base targeting the home.”

Both men were charged in Washtenaw County with gang membership, a 20-year felony; unlawful posting of a message, a two-year felony and/or a $5,000 fine; and using computers to commit a crime, a four-year felony and/or $5,000 fine.

After those charges were filed, investigators found evidence that Watkins and two other members of The Base – Thomas Denton and Tristan Webb – entered two former and vacant Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) sites in Caro to assess them as potential future training grounds for “hate camps”, which is what the group named their paramilitary firearms training exercises.

Charges were then filed against Watkins, Denton and Webb, including one count of larceny in a building, a four-year felony; one count of gang membership, a 20-year felony; one count of conspiracy to train with firearms for a civil disorder, a four-year felony; and one count of felony firearm, a two-year felony.

Webb pleaded no contest last week to gang membership, conspiracy to train with firearms for a civil disorder and felony firearm. Authorities say the larceny in a building charge will be dismissed as part of the plea. Watkins, meanwhile, pleaded guilty last month to gang membership in Washtenaw County and will be sentenced there June 13 on that count.

Denton previously pleaded no contest to felony firearm and conspiracy to train with firearms for a civil disorder in Tuscola County and was sentenced to two years for felony firearm and between nine months and four years for the conspiracy charge, which will run concurrently. The remaining charges were dismissed.

Gorman, who was only charged in Washtenaw County, pleaded guilty to gang membership and was sentenced Feb. 28. He received four years of probation. The other charges were dismissed.

“The tragic event in Buffalo that resulted in 10 people being murdered and another three injured is an example of why we must prosecute and pursue these types of crimes to deter others from contemplating such acts of violence,” said Nessel.

“Securing these convictions on the conspiracy to train for civil disorder creates a historic precedent in our state’s court system and conveys the real danger domestic terrorism poses here and around the country. Today’s sentencing is recognition by the court of the serious nature of these crimes and demonstrates the willingness of our justice system to hold accountable those who commit crimes in the name of overthrowing our government or perpetuating racist ideologies. I appreciate the work of our law enforcement partners at all levels to help bring these criminals to justice.”

Founded in 2018, The Base – which translates into “Al-Qaeda” in English – has been labeled by authorities as a “white supremacy gang” that openly advocates for violence and criminal acts against the U.S., and purports to be training for a race war to establish white ethno-nationalist rule in areas of the U.S., including Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

According to Nessel’s office, the group also traffics in Nazi ideology and extreme anti-Semitism.


Michigan Advance is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Michigan Advance maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Susan Demas for questions: info@michiganadvance.com. Follow Michigan Advance on Facebook and Twitter.

GOP legislator who requested voting tabulator access ‘entangled’ in Michigan State Police investigation

A Michigan legislator is under scrutiny as part of an investigation into whether third parties gained unauthorized access to election equipment and data after the 2020 election.

State Rep. Daire Rendon (R-Lake City) tried to gain access to a tabulator, according to Reuters, which reported that a township clerk in Roscommon County said Rendon made the request, which was denied, shortly after the November 2020 election.

Carol Asher, the Republican clerk of Denton Township, said it was odd Rendon contacted her on her personal cell phone on a Saturday to make the request and “was adamant” that access be granted that weekend because others working with Rendon were in town.

“If this was legitimate, you come in here with a paper written from the Secretary of State or something,” said Asher. “I thought it was kind of strange, but I said, ‘No, we could never allow it.”'

Markey Township Clerk Sheryl Tussey, also a Republican, said Rendon made a similar request of her, which she also denied.

The Detroit News, meanwhile, reports Rendon’s unusual requests have “entangled” her in an investigation of the matter by the Michigan State Police (MSP) and Michigan Attorney General’s Office.

MSP began looking into the issue in February when Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson requested an investigation after her office received reports that an unnamed third party was able to access vote tabulator components and technology in Roscommon County.

Benson said that following a court order, Dominion Voting System tabulators were accessed in Antrim County in December 2020 by a third party with the data that was collected then used to generate a report falsely claiming election fraud.

There are several right-wing conspiracy theories about Dominion and Antrim County in the 2020 election that former President Donald Trump lost to President Joe Biden. Republicans in Michigan and nationwide have baselessly claimed voting equipment was “rigged” against Trump. Preliminary Antrim County election results briefly showed Biden winning due to human error, but the mistake was quickly corrected.

Rendon has been a vocal supporter of those baseless claims. Following the release of a report by the Republican-controlled Senate Oversight Committee in June 2021 that it found no widespread fraud in the election, Rendon released a statement disputing that conclusion without providing evidence.

“I am in receipt of evidence reflecting systematic election fraud in Michigan that occurred in the November 2020 election,” said Rendon. “Many Michigan voters believe that the Michigan Senate Oversight Committee’s conclusion was formed without a proper investigation, and so I encourage attorneys in Michigan and beyond to pursue legal avenues that will reveal truth and transparency to the citizens of the United States.”

The Detroit News reported that Rendon claimed “two IT experts” said the tabulators were able to be hacked and had “IP addresses on them for countries outside of the U.S.,” but could not provide any proof.

Rendon, who has been seen wearing a pin associated with QAnon conspiracy theory, also spoke at a Trump-endorsed rally in Lansing last October seeking a so-called “forensic audit” of the election.

“Now we’ve seen the evidence [of election fraud]. … We’ve seen a lot of evidence. Why doesn’t anyone else want to see it?” Rendon said on stage at the rally, without offering details of the evidence.

Rendon was also one of several Michigan lawmakers who sought to disrupt the state’s Electoral College vote in December by submitting an illegal slate of GOP “electors” and has been involved in legal efforts to overturn the election and challenge election results.

When asked about Rendon’s involvement by the Michigan Advance, Michigan State Police Lt. Derrick Carroll declined to offer any specifics.

“We are not releasing any information regarding the active investigation, so we do not compromise the case,” he said. “We are not disclosing names of any witnesses or persons of interest.”

In response to the report, state Rep. Joe Tate (D-Detroit) issued a statement expressing concern that a fellow legislator was part of an investigation around undue access to voting equipment.

“If true, this would be just the latest in a pattern of behavior from Rep. Rendon, including escorting false electors to the Capitol and aligning herself with baseless conspiracy theories,” said Tate. “I have fully supported [Attorney General Dana] Nessel’s investigation from the beginning, and I expect that anyone who gained unauthorized access to voting equipment, or those who attempted to do so, will face commensurate and immediate consequences.”


Michigan Advance is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Michigan Advance maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Susan Demas for questions: info@michiganadvance.com. Follow Michigan Advance on Facebook and Twitter.

GOP resolution seeks to abolish Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission

Just months after the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC) completed new maps for each of Michigan’s new congressional, state Senate and state House districts, a resolution has been introduced to abolish the commission and return the state to a partisan process.

The resolution was introduced Wednesday by state Rep. Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain) and would completely gut the language that created the commission and was added to the Michigan Constitution following a 2018 ballot initiative, which passed by an almost two-thirds majority.

“By November 1, 2031, and every 10 years thereafter, the legislature shall adopt a redistricting plan for state senate districts and state house of representative districts,” states the resolution, which also includes congressional districts. “A redistricting plan must be adopted by the legislature by a resolution concurred in by two thirds of the members elected to and serving in each house of the legislature.”

LaFave was one of seven Republicans who filed suit against the commission in January alleging the congressional map “fragments counties, townships, and municipalities” without a necessary reason. A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a motion April 1 to toss out the maps, although the case remains pending.

LaFave’s resolution states that districts “must break as few county boundaries as is reasonably possible,” as well “as few city and township boundaries as is reasonably possible.”

He did not request for comment.

In response to the resolution, commission Executive Director Edward Woods III told the Michigan Advance that commissioners discussed at Thursday’s meeting House Joint Resolution S and how it can become a ballot proposal for consideration by Michigan voters.

“By more than 61%, Michigan voters empowered the Commission to draw fair maps with public input,” said Woods. “Through an open and transparent process, we engaged Michiganders to participate and obtained nearly 30,000 public comments, which was unprecedented in the history of Michigan’s redistricting process.”

Woods also noted that an independent post-survey conducted by the Chicago-based Glengariff Group provided feedback reiterating public support.

Michigan voters, 65.5% to 10.1%, said the state should continue with the redistricting commission. However, 24.4% of voters were undecided or said both should be involved.

Voters aware of the redistricting changes said 78.7% to 4.7% that Michigan should stay with the redistricting commission.

“As an independent body, we believe in and respect the voice of Michiganders,” said Woods.

The effort to abolish the commission comes despite praise of Michigan’s citizen-led nonpartisan process. At a recent press conference by Voters Not Politicians (VNP), which helped establish the commission, David Daley, author of “Unrigged” and a senior fellow with FairVote, a nonprofit organization that advocates for electoral reform, said what Michigan accomplished with the MICRC was a singular achievement.

“I have never seen a transformation as complete as the one we are watching here in Michigan,” said Daley. “You’re going from one of the most gerrymandered states in the country to a state that is really set up to be … a gold standard for other states that are looking at their own twisted politics and trying to find a way out.”

As to the immediate future of the commission, Woods previously said it is still working through ongoing litigation and noted that the Michigan Constitution mandates that they remain intact until all legal challenges are resolved.

In the meantime, the commission is still trying to negotiate funding from the Legislature. Woods said that he will be sending a letter on that topic to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government.


Michigan Advance is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Michigan Advance maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Susan Demas for questions: info@michiganadvance.com. Follow Michigan Advance on Facebook and Twitter.

Michigan State Police expands 2020 election equipment probe into Barry County

The Michigan State Police (MSP) has expanded its investigation into Barry County as to whether third parties gained unauthorized access to election equipment and data after the 2020 election.

Multiple media report that a raid was carried out on April 29 at the Irving Township hall where investigators seized a voting machine tabulator. While Michigan State Police Lt. Derrick Carroll confirmed for the Michigan Advance that it occurred, he said they are not discussing particular locations or how many.

Similarly, Michigan Department of Attorney General spokesperson Lynsey Mukomel declined comment on the Irving Township raid or the status of the investigation.

The investigation began in February when Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson requested that the attorney general and MSP investigate reports her office received that an unnamed third party was able to access vote tabulator components and technology in Roscommon County.

Benson asks police, AG to investigate reports of election equipment tampering in N. Michigan

Benson said that following a court order, Dominion Voting System tabulators were accessed in Antrim County in December of 2020 by a third party with the data that was collected then used to generate a report falsely claiming election fraud.

There are several right-wing conspiracy theories about Dominion and Antrim County in the 2020 election that former President Donald Trump lost to President Joe Biden. Republicans in Michigan and nationwide have baselessly claimed voting equipment was “rigged” against Trump. Preliminary Antrim County election results briefly showed Biden winning due to human error, but the mistake was quickly corrected.

In January, Benson told the House Select Committee looking into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol that she believed the report, which was issued by Allied Security Operations Group and was under a court seal, had been accessed by former President Donald Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, who then used it in the unsuccessful effort to overturn Joe Biden’s victory.

“The report was thoroughly debunked by multiple election experts, but not before it was cited as the reason for the federal government to seize tabulation machines in a draft executive order of former president Donald Trump,” stated a press release by Benson’s office. “Another submission in the same case in Antrim County claimed to include an image from an Elections System and Software tabulator, the vendor that provides tabulators to all Roscommon County jurisdictions.”

When Benson made her initial request for an investigation, she also provided guidance to municipal clerks statewide on what to do if they became aware that an unauthorized third party attempted to gain or had been given improper access to voting equipment.


Michigan Advance is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Michigan Advance maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Susan Demas for questions: info@michiganadvance.com. Follow Michigan Advance on Facebook and Twitter.

Trump-backed Michigan Republican falsely claims the insurrection was a false flag operation

She doesn’t believe Joe Biden won the presidency in November 2020, but does believe the conspiracy that the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol was a false flag operation.
And if the Michigan Republican Party gets its way, she will be Michigan’s next secretary of state.

QAnon-connected candidate Kristina Karamo was endorsed last month as the party’s choice to take on Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson in November, with the winner administering the state’s elections. That could have big implications for the 2024 presidential race where Michigan is again poised to be a pivotal swing state.

That’s no coincidence as Karamo, who was strongly endorsed by former President Donald Trump, was catapulted to prominence by the former president because of her willingness to help spread the lie that the 2020 election was “rigged.”

“She is strong on Crime, including the massive Crime of Election Fraud,” Trump said in his endorsement on the Save America website. “Kristina will fight for you like no other, and of equal importance, she will fight for justice. Good luck Kristina, and while you’re at it, check out the Fake Election results that took place in the city of Detroit.”

Karamo came to Trump’s attention after she alleged illegal vote counting at the TCF Center in downtown Detroit where she showed up as a self-appointed “poll challenger” while officials counted approximately 174,000 absentee ballots. However, as the Guardian reported, her allegation was based on a misunderstanding of the counting process, which was not a surprise to Chris Thomas, Michigan’s former state director of elections.

Thomas, who oversaw the state’s elections for 36 years under both Republican and Democratic administrations, said her lack of training made the misunderstanding almost inevitable.

“This is the problem when people make all these comments when they don’t understand the system,” he told the Guardian. “They see what they want to see.”

Speaking to that issue, Benson campaign spokesperson Liz Boyd told the Michigan Advance that Karamo does not represent what residents want and expect from the office.

“If the GOP wants a secretary of state who peddles in conspiracy theories and doesn’t have the first idea how to provide competent, customer-service driven leadership then they’ve got their candidate,” said Boyd. “Not only will Kristina Karamo undermine our democracy and overturn our elections, she’ll take us back to the days when customers had to ‘take-a-ticket and wait’ hours just to renew a driver license.”

However, a deeper dive into Karamo’s past statements show deeply held beliefs that go beyond electoral politics.

Between July of 2020 and February of 2021, Karamo, who is a community college instructor from Oak Park, hosted the podcast, “It’s Solid Food,” which can still be found on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

According to a Media Matters’ roundup of those episodes, Karamo’s claims included allegations that singers Ariana Grande and Billie Eilish have been putting children “under a satanic delusion,” while attacking Beyoncé for “trying to target Black people into embracing paganism … and calling it African spirituality.”

“I had a student who once said, ‘Well, you know, I believe there’s a bunch of gods,’” Karamo said on the Aug. 6, 2020, episode. “And that’s what people are gravitating to because, again, witchcraft gives them a sense and paganism gives them a sense of power without conformity to something. It’s just follow self. And we see Beyoncé pushing that more and more. And she’s really targeting, trying to target Black people into embracing paganism. And one of the really interesting things is that her husband, Jay-Z, is, many people have said, is a satanist. I believe it to be true. I don’t have any hard proof.”

Many religions are polytheistic, like Taoism and most forms of Hinduism, with adherents believing in many gods. Christianity and Judaism are prominent monotheistic religions.

Satan’s influence is never far from Karamo’s concerns, connecting it to a Korean drama’s plot line about communicating with ancestors, which she criticizes as mocking God.

“It’s because of Satan,” Karamo said on the program, according to the Media Matters roundup. “And so people are turning to these things to find happiness and “I’m going to communicate with my ancestors.” Bull, no. There’s no ancestors for you to talk to. And Satan, again, he’s so crafty.”

She has also claimed that people doing yoga are participating in “a satanic ritual.”

Karamo, who has said churches that hang a rainbow flag are “agents of Satan,” has also made claims connecting premarital sex and the LGBTQ+ community with pedophilia and bestiality.

“‘It’s OK, it’s normal to have premarital sex, it’s normal to live with your boyfriend for a few years to see if it’s going to work out, right?’” asked Karamo in a since-deleted video on her website. “No. Because again, when you kick God out, nature hates vacuums, Satan fills right in. And that is what has happened in our society And then when we start to say, ‘Oh well, if you want to have sex with somebody of the same sex, that’s OK, too.’ And now, it has morphed into something worse,” which she claimed was pedophilia and bestiality, “being normalized.”

That line of reasoning has gained ground within the Michigan GOP as seen last month when state Sen. Lana Theis (R-Brighton) used a fundraising email to accuse Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) of being a “groomer” who sought to “sexualize children,” while Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte) sent out a fundraising text claiming ‘your child’ is scheduled for gender reassignment surgery and calling transgender a “sick and twisted ideology.”

Karamo, whose campaign did not return a request for comment, also opposes teaching evolution, calling public schools “government indoctrination camps,” while maintaining that those involved in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection were not who they appeared to be. Speaking on her podcast the day after the attack, Karamo advanced the false claim that those who stormed the U.S. Capitol were not Trump supporters.

“Based on the series of evidence and knowing how these situations work, how these anarchists operate, I believe this is completely Antifa posing as Trump supporters,” Karamo said. “I mean, anybody can buy a MAGA hat and put on a t-shirt and buy a Trump flag.”

Over 800 people have been arrested and charged with crimes connected to the attack, many of them admitted Trump supporters.

Now that she is the Republican candidate in November, Karamo has to appeal to a statewide electorate that includes more than just diehard Trump supporters. Karamo herself appeared to understand that when speaking in October 2021 in Las Vegas at an event featuring prominent people associated with the QAnon conspiracy theory.

“One of the things that I try to be very cognizant of, you know, I’m running a statewide race,” Karamo said according to a CNN report. “And I understand I have to win the hearts and minds of people who may not necessarily think like me.”

At the Michigan GOP endorsement convention last month, Karamo also vowed to win over “soft Democrats” and independents.

However, the woman Karamo seeks to replace made no qualms about how she sees the stakes of electing someone who believes, against all evidence, that the 2020 election was stolen.

“It’s like putting arsonists in charge of a fire department. It’s like putting a bank robber in charge of a bank and giving them the keys to the vault,” said Benson. “This is a choice between whether or not we’ll have a democracy moving forward.”

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Michigan Advance is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Michigan Advance maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Susan Demas for questions: info@michiganadvance.com. Follow Michigan Advance on Facebook and Twitter.

Michigan Republican claims 'your child' is scheduled for gender reassignment surgery in fundraising message

Another Michigan Republican is fundraising off attacks on the LGBTQ+ community and supporters.

A fundraising message sent by state Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte), who is seeking the Republican nomination for the newly drawn 7th Congressional District, claims, “President Biden is forcing 5-year-olds to learn about gender reassignment surgeries, gender identities, and other radical ideas,” adding that “Every American needs to step up TODAY and stop this sick and twisted ideology from poisoning our children.”

According to a screenshot obtained by the Michigan Advance, Barrett’s original fundraising appeal came via text and appeared to be an appointment confirmation for “Your Child” to receive “Gender Reassignment Surgery Tomorrow at 9 AM.” It then asks, “If you would like to CANCEL this appointment because you do not believe in teaching young children about dangerous transgender ideologies, please sign your name NOW.”

That message has since been replaced with Barrett’s current appeal in which he also claims, “Democrats are HELLBENT on destroying our faith, removing God from the center of our nation, and pushing transgender ideology on young children. Without your immediate support, Pelosi will have all the ammunition she needs to destroy Christian Republicans like Tom Barrett & completely eviscerate our traditional values.”

Barrett has not returned a request for comment.

An outdated legal theory could let Republicans subvert election results and redistricting processes

An obscure and heretofore discredited legal theory is shaping up to potentially become the next tool in efforts to give Republican-led state legislatures like that in Michigan sole authority over election law.

The Independent State Legislature Doctrine has been described by SCOTUSblog as positing “that the Constitution gives state legislatures nearly unfettered authority to write the rules for federal elections, with little or no oversight from state courts.”

“By this doctrine, the legislature would be sovereign,” said Mark Brewer, former Michigan Democratic Party chair and a longtime election lawyer.

He told the Michigan Advance that if such a doctrine were implemented, legislatures could make whatever decision they wanted. “So you would have state legislatures in and of themselves having the ability to overrule not only a state court, but even a state Constitution.”

The doctrine is based on two clauses within the U.S. Constitution. The first is the Elections Clause in Article 1, which provides state legislatures the authority to set the “time, place and manner” of federal elections, but also gives Congress the power to “at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations.”

The second is the Presidential Electors Clause in Article 2, which reads: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors” to select the president.

Proponents of the theory interpret the clauses to mean that legis­latures are the sole state entity that can regu­late federal elec­tions, and as such can overrule state courts, and even state consti­tu­tions, on such matters.

In Michigan, such an interpretation would mean the district maps recently enacted by the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission could be undone by a vote of the Legislature, invalidating the will of residents who overwhelmingly voted to have the nonpartisan commission create maps and not a partisan legislature.

That’s exactly the position that Republican legislators in North Carolina took when they appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and requested reinstatement of the legislature’s original map for congressional districts, which had been rejected by both a state court and the North Carolina Supreme Court as being in violation of that state’s constitution.

While numerous legal experts have called the doctrine a misreading of the Elections Clause (among them Ethan Herenstein and Thomas Wolf with the Brennan Center for Justice, who called the doctrine “merit­less as a matter of origin­al­ism, textu­al­ism, fair repres­ent­a­tion, and preced­ent”) it has nonetheless drawn support from at least three conservative Supreme Court justices, and interest from a fourth.

While the nation’s high court declined to take up the North Carolina case, Justice Samuel Alito dissented, describing the Independent State Legislature Doctrine as “an exceptionally important and recurring question of constitutional law.” He was joined in that dissent by fellow Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch.

While Justice Brett Kavanaugh voted with the majority to turn down the North Carolina petition, he did indicate that SCOTUS should take up the doctrine and decide on it.

In fact, the high court has already taken up the doctrine several times in the last century and decided it didn’t hold constitutional muster. A 1932 decision rejected it, as did a 2015 ruling in which the court, in a 5-4 decision, upheld the validity of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.

But there’s now a 6-3 conservative majority and is considered to be the most right-wing court in decades that has disregarded precedent in several cases.

And the doctrine gained new momentum in the aftermath of the 2020 election, in which the high court was asked to rule on several challenges to the results. While none of those were ultimately successful, the doctrine was cited in many of those cases, with Alito, Thomas and Gorsuch expressing some measure of support.

In most of those cases, the doctrine’s interpretation of the Presidential Electors Clause was at play. In fact, it may have been a topic of conversation during the much-publicized meeting between then-President Trump and Michigan GOP leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) and then-House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering), two weeks after the November 2020 election.

Brewer told Michigan Advance that he has no doubt the doctrine was part of Trump’s plan to overturn the 2020 election.

“That explains everything Trump was doing back in the fall of 2020 … summoning Chatfield and Shirkey to Washington,” said Brewer. “I’m sure that this was the topic of conversation. He was trying to persuade them and the legislature to cast Michigan’s electoral votes for him.”.

Brewer called it “a very dangerous, anti-democratic doctrine” that essentially undoes the balance of power between three co-equal branches of government.

He also noted that it only takes four votes on the Supreme Court to consider a case, and five votes to adopt it. While the court rejected the doctrine in 2015 in the Arizona case, two of the five justices who voted it down, Anthony Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, are no longer there.

Chief Justice John Roberts — a GOP-nominated justice who has sometimes sided with the liberal wing — issued a blistering dissent in that case in which he said the majority was relying on “disconnected observations about direct democracy, a contorted interpretation of an irrelevant statute, and naked appeals to public policy.” That could make him the fifth vote for approving the doctrine, although his reputation as an institutionalist might complicate such a presumption.

However, Trump’s appointment of Amy Coney Barrett to the court could mean another potential fifth vote, even though when questioned during her confirmation hearing about the 1932 case that cited the doctrine, Barrett said she had not heard of it. Presumably, that would change if the court takes up the issue.

While trying to predict future votes on such issues can be an exercise in futility, the fact that the doctrine seems to be gaining momentum remains a concern for legal experts.

Ben Geffen is an attorney with the Public Interest Law Center who has assisted fighting gerrymandered maps in Pennsylvania. He told the Michigan Advance that what is most perplexing in those advocating for this doctrine is that one of the potential results would be to allow federal courts to second guess state supreme courts on decisions regarding state constitutions.

“That’s a weird one,” said Geffen. “Both because it doesn’t have any guardrails on it and because it is being advanced by conservative attorneys who normally take exactly the opposite stance and favor a strong version of federalism in which as much power as possible is devolved from the federal government to the states and federal courts in particular are discouraged from meddling in state court affairs. This is the exact opposite of that.”

Geffen notes that the Elections Clause is very clear that Congress has the final authority in these matters and that even if SCOTUS were to break with past precedent and give voice to the doctrine, it could all easily be undone with legislation.

“Even that would not freeze out Congress from stepping in and practically overturning that Supreme Court decision by passing a good law that included strong protections for voting rights or even that just said Congress acting in its authority says that state courts and state constitutions have to be listened to in these matters.”

But having authority and actually using it are two different things according to Geffen, who said the Freedom to Vote Act, which is currently stalled in the U.S. Senate, would outlaw partisan gerrymandering in all 50 states.

“As we’ve seen, it’s very hard to get a bill like that passed through both houses of Congress,” he said. “The possibility exists, but it’s not an easy lift.”

While the immediate goal of the doctrine’s proponents might be to sway future elections, there are also broader implications such a philosophy could have.

Steven Liedel is an election attorney and one-time legal counsel to former Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm. He told the Michigan Advance that proponents of the doctrine are purposely engaging in an overly literal reading of these clauses that would then open the door into other seemingly settled areas of Constitutional law..

“If that’s the view that you take, that if the Constitution references the legislature it only means the legislature, what sort of implications does that have for the First Amendment?” Liedel said. “The First Amendment says Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, press, religion, etc. Well, if it’s only Congress, then I guess the other branches (of government) are free to take actions that infringe on free speech, free press and religious rights. That’s where things flow from this.”

Liedel added that while the redistricting angle will likely be the quickest path to get the issue to the Supreme Court, the true goal for those pushing the doctrine is whether a majority of votes in any given state will continue to be the deciding factor when it comes to the Electoral College.

“I have always viewed this more recently about the ability to overturn elections that they don’t like,” he said. “The redistricting process may be a convenient forum to get the issues raised and lay the groundwork … some of it from some of the same states and some of it from some of the same lawyers that were making arguments, or legislators who were making this argument after the 2020 election, now making it with regard to redistricting. Then they’ll just make that same argument in 2024 if they don’t like election results in a particular state and the legislature might be favorably inclined to do something different.”


Michigan Advance is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Michigan Advance maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Susan Demas for questions: info@michiganadvance.com. Follow Michigan Advance on Facebook and Twitter.

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Resolution condemns RNC for ‘whitewashing and lying’ about Jan. 6 insurrection

While the Republican National Committee (RNC) continues to try and block a subpoena from a U.S. House select committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol, a resolution recently introduced in the Michigan House condemns the RNC for referring to the January 6, 2021, insurrection as “legitimate political discourse.”

The non-binding HR 241, introduced March 1 by Rep. Joe Tate (D-Detroit), says that such a reference is akin to “whitewashing and lying about the violent, deadly, and seditious” attack, which was “a destructive, heinous attack on our democracy (resulting) in at least five deaths, including a Capitol Police officer, and well over 100 injuries.”

The resolution was referred to the House Committee on Government Operations, where it is likely to remain as GOP leaders at the state and federal level remain steadfast in stonewalling any effort to investigate the insurrection.

That effort took legal form last week as the RNC filed a lawsuit against the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, trying to forestall a subpoena seeking data from Salesforce, an email communication platform used by the party. Meanwhile, the committee agreed on Wednesday to extend the subpoena’s deadline by at least two weeks.

Tate’s resolution makes mention of the fact that the Select Committee includes Republicans Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who, “along with the Democratic committee members, deserve commendation for their work to investigate the January 6, 2021, insurrection…” However, it then notes that an RNC resolution was adopted to “formally censure Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger and to no longer support them as members of the Republican Party,” as they are part of a “persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.”

Another non-binding resolution, as previously reported by The Advance, was recently introduced by Tate, but is also likely to languish in committee over much the same reason.

Introduced on Tuesday, it condemns the false 2020 Electoral College certificates submitted by Republicans and urges the Department of Justice as well attorneys general in Michigan, Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Mexico and Wisconsin, “to prosecute these fake electors for their misdeeds to the fullest extent of the law.”

That matter was referred in January by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Western District of Michigan.


Michigan Advance is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Michigan Advance maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Susan Demas for questions: info@michiganadvance.com. Follow Michigan Advance on Facebook and Twitter.