Other Group

Women of Michigan Action Network (WOMAN)

Website:

https://www.facebook.com/womanactionnetwork/

Type:

Advocacy Network

Status:

Limited Liability Company

Headquarters:

Midland, Michigan

Founded:

2017

Women of Michigan Action Network (WOMAN) is a left-of-center activist organization based in Midland, Michigan. It was formed after the 2016 presidential election to oppose the policies of President Donald Trump and promote Democratic Party priorities and left-wing social causes. [1]

While the organization’s name implies statewide reach, its leadership, members, and events are largely limited to the area in and around Midland, Michigan. [2]

Leadership and Organizational Structure

Women of Michigan Action Network was founded in 2017 by Midland, Michigan-area residents Jen Ciolino, Jody Liebmann, and Sarah Schulz. [3]

Unusually for an advocacy organization, WOMAN was created as a limited liability company, or LLC. [4] Neither the IRS nor the Michigan Department of the Attorney General, which regulates charitable organizations in the state, show WOMAN being registered as a nonprofit corporation. [5] [6] The online database of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) shows no regulatory filings from WOMAN since its 2018 annual statement, and on February 16, 2021 LARA classified WOMAN as “in existence but not in good standing” for its failure to comply with reporting requirements. [7]

WOMAN’s apparent failure to meet these requirements makes it difficult to track its leadership team. A February 2020 article said that co-founder Sarah Schulz was stepping down and that WOMAN’s leadership team was Midland-area left-wing activists Carol Arnosky, Alaynah Smith, Cherie Marks, Casey Hillstrom, and Allison Wilcox. [8] Original co-founder Jen Ciolino’s LinkedIn profile, though, lists her as a co-founder of WOMAN through June 2020. [9] A December 2021 Midland Daily News op-ed by Allison Wilcox referred to her as “the leader of WOMAN.” [10]

However, Michigan’s LARA database does not show any record of the state having been notified that any of these changes were officially made to the LLC’s membership team, which would have legal control of the organization under Michigan law. [11]

Membership

WOMAN representatives have claimed various numbers for the organization’s membership. A local TV station’s coverage of a January 2017 march referred to the group having “more than 100” members. [12] In a letter the next month to the Midland Daily News, the three founders claimed to have reached 700 members. [13]

In the book “Resistance: How Women Saved Democracy from Donald Trump,” by Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin, Schulz was credited with growing WOMAN to 2,000 people. [14] [15]

Policy Positions and Advocacy

Women of Michigan Action Network promotes left-wing policy and social positions and Democratic Party political and policy priorities. These have included opposition to the presidency of Donald Trump, [16] as well as positions such as support for ending the Senate filibuster to pass legislation that would give the federal government more power over state and local elections, [17] support for redistricting efforts in Michigan that would be favorable to the Democratic Party, [18] promotion of critical race theory, [19] circulation of petitions to remove Fox News from local cable systems, [20] and advocacy for the Biden administration’s infrastructure spending proposals. [21]

Political Action Committee

In March 2020, Women of Michigan Action Network launched the “WOMAN PAC,” a political action committee. Allison Wilcox, a member of WOMAN’s leadership team, was listed as treasurer. [22] [23] During the 2020 election cycle, the WOMAN PAC donated $10,500 to the campaign of WOMAN co-founder Sarah Schulz, who ran as the a Democratic Party Michigan House of Representatives District 98. [24] [25] Schulz’s fellow WOMAN co-founder Carol Arnosky was her campaign treasurer. [26]

Schulz had claimed to have stepped down from her leadership position at WOMAN to run for office, but the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs still listed Schulz as WOMAN’s registered agent as of February 2022. [27]

WOMAN PAC’s donations to Shulz’s campaign comprised more than half of its total of $17,022 in expenditures that year. [28]

Shulz lost her election, 58.4 to 41.6 percent. [29]

Jeffrey Liebmann

Women of Michigan Action Network co-founder Jody Liebmann’s husband, Jeffrey Liebmann, is a retired Unitarian Universalist minister who has played an active role in WOMAN events. [30]

A self-described “mystical omnitheist, religious humanist, skeptic and agitator,” Liebmann is a prolific writer of op-eds in the Midland Daily News promoting radical left-wing views. [31] After the election of President Donald Trump in 2016, Liebmann’s columns called then-President Trump a “neo-Fascist,” said he “likely possesses no capacity for genuine love of others” argued his interactions with women “show just how Neanderthal our country’s rape culture remains,” and called his cabinet “the greatest assemblage of unqualified and hostile public servants in our history.” [32] [33] [34]

After receiving complaints from readers, in February 2017 the Midland Daily News’s editors noted that while they had not previously limited the number of op-eds a single author could contribute, “Rev. Liebmann has taken advantage of the opportunity more so than other writers” and announced a monthly limit moving forward of one longer opinion article per author. [35] In the next month’s column, Liebmann promoted an upcoming WOMAN event by imagining a dystopian future in which President Trump ruled over a country where “children have never seen a newspaper,” many of the nation’s large cities were “radioactive rubble,” LGBT people were killed, progressives were “detained” and eventually all products on store shelves were from Russia. [36]

References

  1. Gavin McIntyre. “Women of Michigan Action Network March in Downtown Midland.” MLive.com. December 18, 2016. https://www.mlive.com/news/bay-city/2016/12/women_of_michigan_action_netwo.html. ^
  2. “Woman Announces Changes to Leadership Team.” Midland Daily News. February 20, 2020. https://www.ourmidland.com/news/article/WOMAN-announces-changes-to-leadership-team-15069756.php. ^
  3. [1] Jen Ciolino, Jody Liebmann, and Sarah Schulz. “Wednesday Readers’ View: What We Stand For.” Midland Daily News. February 1, 2017. https://www.ourmidland.com/opinion/letters/article/Wednesday-readers-view-What-we-stand-for-10900945.php. ^
  4. “Limited Liability Companies.” Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Accessed February 24, 2022. https://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-154-89334_61343_35413_35429—,00.html. ^
  5. “Charitable Trust Section Database Search.” State of Michigan Department of Attorney General Charitable Trust Section. Accessed February 24, 2022. https://www.ag.state.mi.us/charitabletrust/frmDefault.aspx. ^
  6. “Tax Exempt Organization Search.” IRS.gov. Accessed February 24, 2022. https://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/allSearch. ^
  7. “Women of Michigan Action Network L.L.C.” OpenCorporates. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://opencorporates.com/companies/us_mi/802074076. ^
  8. “Woman Announces Changes to Leadership Team.” Midland Daily News. February 20, 2020. https://www.ourmidland.com/news/article/WOMAN-announces-changes-to-leadership-team-15069756.php. ^
  9. “Jen Ciolino.” LinkedIn.com. Accessed February 24, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenniferciolino. ^
  10. Allison Wilcox. “Midland’s Woman Group Wants Fair Maps.” Midland Daily News. December 21, 2021. https://www.ourmidland.com/opinion/voices/article/WOMAN-wants-fair-maps-16713853.php. ^
  11. “Michigan Corporations Online Filing System Search.” Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Accessed February 24, 2022. https://cofs.lara.state.mi.us/SearchApi/Search/Search. ^
  12. Rachel McCrary. “Women of Michigan Action Network Host March in Midland.” WNEM Saginaw. January 21, 2017. https://www.wnem.com/news/women-of-michigan-action-network-host-march-in-midland/article_e158348c-1b32-58cf-91ef-afd5cbefadeb.html. ^
  13. Jen Chiolino, Jody Liebmann, and Sarah Shulz. “Tuesday Reader’s View: WOMAN Continues to Grow.” Midland Daily News. February 16, 2017. https://www.ourmidland.com/opinion/letters/article/Tuesday-reader-s-view-WOMAN-continues-to-grow-10929494.php. ^
  14. Jennifer Rubin. Resistance: How Women Saved Democracy from Donald Trump. 2022. ^
  15. “Facebook Post – November 7, 2021.” WOMAN. November 7, 2021. https://www.facebook.com/womanactionnetwork/photos/pcb.1486211358429634/1486211258429644. ^
  16. Gavin McIntyre. “Women of Michigan Action Network March in Downtown Midland.” MLive.com. December 18, 2016. https://www.mlive.com/news/bay-city/2016/12/women_of_michigan_action_netwo.html. ^
  17. A.J. Hoffmann and Michael Westendorf. “Local Political Rally and March Held to Promote Voting Rights and Honor John Lewis.” Chemical City Paper. May 9, 2021. https://chemicalcitypaper.com/2021/05/09/local-political-rally-and-march-held-to-promote-voting-rights-and-honor-john-lewis/. ^
  18. Allison Wilcox. “Midland’s WOMAN Group Wants Fair Maps.” Midland Daily News. December 21, 2021. https://www.ourmidland.com/opinion/voices/article/WOMAN-wants-fair-maps-16713853.php. ^
  19. “Facebook Post – November 28, 2021.” WOMAN – Women of Michigan Action Network. November 28, 2021. https://www.facebook.com/womanactionnetwork/posts/1500361973681239. ^
  20. “Facebook Post – January 7, 2022.” WOMAN – Women of Michigan Action Network. January 7, 2022. https://www.facebook.com/womanactionnetwork/posts/1525950911122345. ^
  21. “Facebook Post – April 13, 2021.” WOMAN – Women of Michigan Action Network. April 13, 2021. https://www.facebook.com/womanactionnetwork/posts/1343737556010349. ^
  22. “Women of Michigan Action Network – Woman Pac – Michigan Pac.” Transparency USA. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://www.transparencyusa.org/mi/pac/women-of-michigan-action-network-woman-pac-519561-ind. ^
  23. “Woman Announces Changes to Leadership Team.” Midland Daily News. February 20, 2020. https://www.ourmidland.com/news/article/WOMAN-announces-changes-to-leadership-team-15069756.php. ^
  24. “Michigan Campaign Statement Expenditures.” Michigan Secretary of State. July 2020. Accessed February 24, 2022. https://cfrsearch.nictusa.com/documents/496567/details/filing/expenditures?schedule=1B&changes=0. ^
  25. “Michigan Campaign Statement Expenditures.” Michigan Secretary of State. October 2020. Accessed February 24, 2022. https://cfrsearch.nictusa.com/documents/500908/details/filing/expenditures?schedule=1B&changes=0. ^
  26. “Michigan Committee Statement of Organization.” Michigan Secretary of State. Accessed February 24, 2022. https://cfrsearch.nictusa.com/committees/518445. ^
  27. “Woman Announces Changes to Leadership Team.” Midland Daily News. February 20, 2020. https://www.ourmidland.com/news/article/WOMAN-announces-changes-to-leadership-team-15069756.php. ^
  28. “Michigan Campaign Statement Summary Page.” Michigan Secretary of State. 2021. https://cfrsearch.nictusa.com/documents/505945/details/filing/summary?changes=0. ^
  29. “Sarah Schulz.” Ballotpedia. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://ballotpedia.org/Sarah_Schulz. ^
  30. Nick King. “Women of Michigan Action Network Rally in Downtown Midland.” Midland Daily News. December 19, 2016. https://www.ourmidland.com/photos/slideshow/Women-of-Michigan-Action-Network-rally-in-138900.php. ^
  31. Rev. Jeff Liebmann. “The ‘Real’ Website of Jeff Liebmann, Unitarian Universalist Minister.” Google Sites. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://sites.google.com/site/jeffliebmannhome/Home. ^
  32. Rev. Jeff Liebmann. “Truth and Meaning: The Elephant/” Midland Daily News. January 29, 2017. https://www.ourmidland.com/opinion/voices/article/Truth-and-Meaning-The-elephant-10891421.php. ^
  33. Rev. Jeff Liebmann. “Reader’s View: Truth and Meaning — Where Is Solomon?” Midland Daily News May 24, 2017. https://www.ourmidland.com/opinion/voices/article/Reader-s-view-Truth-and-meaning-where-is-11169529.php. ^
  34. Rev. Jeff Liebmann. “Reader’s View: Where Is Solomon — Part 2.” Midland Daily News. May 25, 2017. https://www.ourmidland.com/opinion/voices/article/Reader-s-view-Where-is-Solomon-Part-2-11172604.php ^
  35.  Tony Cinadr. “Thursday Reader’s View: Tired of Liebmann.” Midland Daily News. February 2, 2017. https://www.ourmidland.com/opinion/letters/article/Thursday-reader-s-view-Tired-of-Liebmann-10903034.php. ^
  36. Rev. Jeff Liebmann. “Truth and Meaning: Yesterday, Today or Tomorrow?” Midland Daily News. March 21, 2017. https://www.ourmidland.com/opinion/voices/article/Truth-and-Meaning-Yesterday-today-or-tomorrow-11015771.php. ^
  See an error? Let us know!