Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Latest on Howell Campaign Finance Violations, Argus endorses in Brighton

First, Dan Meisler of the Argus wrote a story on the illegal MEA mailing. I mentioned the details here titled "Breaking the Law, Breaking the Law" The Argus article is here - From the Argus

A mailing sent out by the Howell Education Association teachers' union in support of two candidates for the Howell Public Schools Board of Education is in violation of campaign finance law because it doesn't identify who paid for it.
The postcards read, in part, "Howell teachers support Edwin J. Literski and Dan Fondriest for Howell school board," and are printed on paper the same shade of light green as the T-shirts union members have been wearing to school board meetings to protest the lack of a contract.

HEA President Doug Norton said it was just an oversight, and shouldn't reflect on the candidates.

"It was an oversight we regret," he said. "We also are confident all recipients understood it was from the Howell teachers and that it was paid for with our PAC dollars."
Norton said the approximately $2,000 spent on the 9,000 postcards was funneled through the Michigan Education Association's political action committee.

"It was supposed to have a 'Paid for by the MEA PAC' on there, but it didn't. The error was ours. It had nothing to do with the candidates we recommend," Norton said.

Neither Literski nor Fondriest said they paid for or reviewed the mailings.

I believe that that Literski and Fondriest did not pay for or review the mailing. Fondriest kept this below $1000. Literski has not, but his campaign finance report looked legit to me. Literski is also running with Pratt as a team and not with Fondriest.

However, I don't buy it on the oversight. Besides the lack of a "paid for by MEA", there's no return address either, as their was in last year's mailing. I think Doug Norton is taking one for his team, but it's the MEA who fouled up this and their PAC. The HEA is an affiliate, but MEA is footing the bill. If I had to put money on this, MEA fouled up on purpose so they would not have to put the fact that they are in EAST LANSING, and not Howell. If they forgot only the "paid for by MEA" and had their return address, I'd write it off as a mistake. If they only forgot the return address and listed the "paid for by MEA part", I would have written it off as a mistake. But both of them, and by one of the Michigan's most effective PAC's? I doubt it. The MEA isn't exactly a politican rookie here. It looks better for East Lansing's MEA if Norton takes the heat, since he's from Howell and it can look like a local mistake, and not from non-county residents.

Also, The Argus endores Greg Rassel and Beth Minert for Brighton Schools. Rassel also has the endorsement from Concerned Taxpayers Group's PAC. The endorsement roundup for Brighton is now this:

Brighton Schools
Concerned Taxpayers Group - Irene Besancon and Greg Rassel.
Right to Life - Irene Besancon and Jared Geist
MEA - None listed. There are rumors, but until then that's just it. Rumors.
Argus - Greg Rassel and Beth Minert


Unknown said...

If a first time candidate had made a mistake like this I would say that it could be overlooked - slap the hand of the candidate and tell him/her not to do it again. But a PAC with a long history and deep pockets? There is no excuse. The PAC should face the maximum penality allowed under law for this blunder.

The Angry Foo Dog said...

What do you know about this?
According to a post by wtcfam from the Argus’ website, the Brighton Teachers Union is endorsing. The post in question is as follows:
“The BEA and BESPA unions have endorsed Winnie Garrett. And unofficially Beth Minert. Mailed notices arrived at Brighton School employee homes yesterday. My neighbor personally received two, both addressed to her.

I wonder why they haven't come out with this publicly.”

Here’s the link in case you want to check it out,