Political Party/527

Michigan Democratic Party

Website:

https://michigandems.com/

Location:

Lansing, Michigan

Founded:

1848

The Michigan Democratic Party is the Michigan state affiliate of the Democratic Party. The party has passed resolutions over the past four years calling for the expansion of government via more funding for public education and government-funded health care programs such as Medicare [1] and universal single-payer healthcare. [2] The Michigan Democratic Party has also endorsed giving driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, among other left-of-center policies. [3]

Controversies

Party Chair Calls Trump Supporters Racist

Less than a week after George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis in 2020, the chair of the Michigan Democratic Party said supporters of President Donald Trump were racist. “If you support Donald Trump, you are a racist. Here is where it gets tricky and uncomfortable. Donald Trump is a racist, and if being a racist is not a deal breaker for you, you are the reason Black people are being murdered for being Black,” Barnes wrote in a statement. [4]

Michigan Republican Party Chair Laura Cox said that Barnes’ comment was “unacceptable.” [5]

Norwood Jewell

Norwood Jewell was a United Auto Workers vice president and member of the Democratic National Committee representing the Michigan Democratic Party. In 2019, Jewell pleaded guilty to accepting $90,000 in illegal benefits from Fiat Chrysler executives during labor contract negotiations. [6]

Jewell spent the money on extravagant meals including $6,912.81 for one night at the London Chop House in Detroit, Michigan while negotiating a contract with Fiat Chrysler. He threw lavish parties that cost more than $25,000 for top UAW union members that featured women paid to light the cigars of senior UAW leaders. [7]

Despite his guilty plea, Jewell remained a member of the DNC for several days, according to the Detroit News. [8] He was sentenced to 15 months in prison in August 2019. [9]

Gave Award to Clerk Charged With Election Fraud Felonies

The Michigan Democratic Party gave an award to Southfield, Michigan City Clerk Sherikia Hawkins in May 2019. [10] Hawkins was arrested in September 2019 on six felony charges alleging election fraud stemming from the 2018 general election. [11]

Hawkins was accused of forging records and marking absentee ballots as invalid. [12] Michigan police discovered that 193 absentee voter files had been improperly entered into computer records as lacking valid signatures and return dates. The Oakland County Election Office stated that Hawkins gave their office altered reports and that staff members found the original reports in the trash. [13]

Several charges were dismissed but Hawkins still faced two felony counts as of December 2021. [14] Despite the pending felony charges, Hawkins won reelection to her position in November 2021. [15]

Fake Tea Party Plot

In 2011, top county Democratic officials were convicted of election fraud and implicated the head of the Michigan Democratic Party in the scheme. [16]

Michael McGuinness, chairman of the Oakland County Democratic Party in Michigan, was convicted of forging documents and fraudulently submitting the names of candidates under a “Tea Party” banner, according to the Associated Press. [17] Jason Bauer, the political director for the county party, pleaded no contest to three counts of uttering and publishing, three counts of perjury, and three counts of violating the Michigan Notary Act for his role in the scheme. [18]

In 2013, McGuinness implicated Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer in the fake Tea Party scheme. [19] McGuinness accused Brewer of “cultivating” the scheme. [20] “I got six felonies and [Brewer] got another term as chair,” McGuiness stated. [21] Brewer denied any involvement in the plot. [22]

Stripped Of Delegates for Early Primary
In 2007, the national Democratic Party voted to strip the Michigan Democratic Party of all of its delegates to the 2008 national convention because it held an early presidential primary that violated party rules. [23] Michigan had 156 delegates and scheduled a January 15 primary even though Democratic Party rules only allowed Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina to hold nominating contests before February 5. [24]

Campaign Finance Violations

The Michigan Democratic Party has been fined multiple times by the Federal Election Commission (FEC),  including a $500,000 fine for violations during bingo fundraiser events.

The party was fined $500,000 by the FEC in 2017 for poor record keeping, excessive contributions, and finance reporting inaccuracies relating to a bingo fundraiser. [25] The Detroit Free Press reported the fine could have been several million dollars larger but the party negotiated a smaller penalty. [26] Among the findings was that the party underreported the amount of contributions at the bingo games by $4.4 million over 14 years. [27]

In February 2018, the party was fined $8,600 by the FEC for slipshod record keeping during the 2015-16 election cycle. [28] The FEC stated in a letter that the reporting errors included “excessive, prohibited and other impermissible contributions or transfers; mathematical discrepancies, failure to provide supporting schedules; failure to properly itemize contributions and transfers from political committees; failure to properly itemize disbursements.” [29]

The party paid a $19,000 fine in 2021 after the FEC discovered the state party’s central committee failed to itemize $78,000 in contributions it received from a fundraiser in 2018. [30] State central committee treasurer Traci Kornak was cited as being responsible for the error. [31]

Resolutions

2021

The Michigan Democratic Party passed 15 resolutions in 2021. [32]

The party resolved to demand that Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) “immediately act to shut down Line 5,” an oil and natural gas pipeline. [33] Enbridge, the company that runs the two 20-inch-diameter pipelines that travels under the Straits of Mackinac, stated the Line 5 provides 65 percent of propane demand in the Upper Peninsula and 55 percent of the statewide propane needs. [34]

The party also called for driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants, [35] the end of cash bail, [36] and accused “pro-Trump Republican terrorists” of killing a police officer at the January 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol. [37]

2020

The Michigan Democratic Party passed 30 resolutions in 2020, [38] including support for a system where “governments pay for healthcare expenses for all Americans,” [39] conversion to 100 percent renewable energy by 2040, [40] and support of the Black Lives Matter movement, while asserting that policing “as a concept” was created to capture escaped slaves “and its historic origin is deeply rooted in systemic racism and white supremacy.” [41] The latter resolution claims that 1930s and 1940s Southern Democrats who supported racist legislation “changed parties” and formed the “modern Republican Party.” [42]

Leadership

Lavora Barnes was elected as chair of the Michigan Democratic Party in February 2019 and is the first Black woman to hold that position. She previously worked as the party’s chief operating officer since 2015. [43]

Christine Jensen is the executive director of the Michigan Democratic Party. [44] Jensen previously worked as the campaign manager for Detroit City Council member Brenda Jones. [45]

The Michigan Democratic Party has four vice chairs, a youth vice chair, a treasurer, a parliamentarian and a corresponding secretary and a recording secretary. [46]

References

  1. Michigan Democratic Party 2018 Spring Convention Statewide Resolutions. Accessed November 28, 2021. https://michigandems.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/statewide-resolutions-packet.docx.pdf ^
  2. Michigan Democratic Party Resolutions 2020. Accessed November 26, 2021. https://michigandems.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/RESOLUTIONS-1.pdf ^
  3. Michigan Democratic Party Resolutions 2021. Accessed November 26, 2021. https://michigandems.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Michigan-Democratic-Party-Resolutions-2021-3.pdf ^
  4. Matt Durr. “Michigan Democratic Party Chair Calls Trump Supporters ‘Racist’, GOP Says Comment Is ‘Unacceptable.’” MLive. June 1, 2020. Accessed November 23, 2021. https://www.mlive.com/public-interest/2020/06/michigan-democratic-party-chair-calls-trump-supporters-racist-gop-says-comment-is-unacceptable.html ^
  5. Matt Durr. “Michigan Democratic Party Chair Calls Trump Supporters ‘Racist’, GOP Says Comment Is ‘Unacceptable.’” MLive. June 1, 2020. Accessed November 23, 2021. https://www.mlive.com/public-interest/2020/06/michigan-democratic-party-chair-calls-trump-supporters-racist-gop-says-comment-is-unacceptable.html ^
  6. [1] Melissa Nann Burke. “Insider: Disgraced UAW Official Resigns Michigan Democratic Party Post.” Detroit News. April 10, 2019. Accessed November 25, 2021. https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2019/04/11/insider-uaw-official-resigns-democratic-party-post/3427490002/ ^
  7. “Former UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell Sentenced To Prison For Conspiring With Fiat Chrysler To Accept Illegal Payments.” U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. August 5, 2019. Accessed November 25, 2021. https://www.justice.gov/usao-edmi/pr/former-uaw-vice-president-norwood-jewell-sentenced-prison-conspiring-fiat-chrysler ^
  8. Melissa Nann Burke. “Insider: Disgraced UAW Official Resigns Michigan Democratic Party Post.” Detroit News. April 10, 2019. Accessed November 25, 2021. https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2019/04/11/insider-uaw-official-resigns-democratic-party-post/3427490002/ ^
  9. “Former UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell Sentenced To Prison For Conspiring With Fiat Chrysler To Accept Illegal Payments.” U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. August 5, 2019. Accessed November 25, 2021. https://www.justice.gov/usao-edmi/pr/former-uaw-vice-president-norwood-jewell-sentenced-prison-conspiring-fiat-chrysler ^
  10. Ronn Blitzer. “Michigan Official Once Honored By Dems Now Facing Election Fraud Charges.” September 24, 2019. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/michigan-official-once-honored-by-dems-now-facing-election-fraud-charges ^
  11. Ronn Blitzer. “Michigan Official Once Honored By Dems Now Facing Election Fraud Charges.” September 24, 2019. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/michigan-official-once-honored-by-dems-now-facing-election-fraud-charges ^
  12. Ronn Blitzer. “Michigan Official Once Honored By Dems Now Facing Election Fraud Charges.” September 24, 2019. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/michigan-official-once-honored-by-dems-now-facing-election-fraud-charges ^
  13. Ronn Blitzer. “Michigan Official Once Honored By Dems Now Facing Election Fraud Charges.” September 24, 2019. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/michigan-official-once-honored-by-dems-now-facing-election-fraud-charges ^
  14. “AG Nessel Prevails In Southfield Clerk’s Attempt To Dismiss Felony Charges.” Michigan Attorney General. June 21, 2021. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://www.michigan.gov/ag/0,4534,7-359-92297_47203-561108–,00.html ^
  15. “Incumbents Prevail In Southfield Race For Mayor, Clerk And Council.” Southfield Sun. November 3, 2021. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://www.candgnews.com/news/incumbents-prevail-in-southfield-race-for-mayor-clerk-and-council-121980 ^
  16. Jonathan Oosting. “Michigan Democratic Leader Mark Brewer Denies Convict’s Accusation Of Concocting Fake Teak Party Scheme; Republican Leader Calls For Resignation.” MLive. February 1, 2013. Accessed November 23, 2021. https://www.mlive.com/politics/2013/02/convict_accuses_michigan_democ.html ^
  17. “Ex-Oakland County Democratic Leader Gets Probation In Fake Tea Party Election Scam.” [1] Associated Press. December 7, 2011. Accessed November 23, 2021. https://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/2011/12/ex-oakland_county_democratic_l.html ^
  18. Ann Zaniewski. “Former Democratic Party Worker Gets Probation, Community Service For Tea Party Fraud.” Oakland Press. January 11, 2012. Accessed November 23, 2021. https://www.theoaklandpress.com/2012/01/11/former-democratic-party-worker-gets-probation-community-service-for-tea-party-fraud-with-video/ ^
  19. Jonathan Oosting. “Michigan Democratic Leader Mark Brewer Denies Convict’s Accusation Of Concocting Fake Teak Party Scheme; Republican Leader Calls For Resignation.” MLive. February 1, 2013. Accessed November 23, 2021. https://www.mlive.com/politics/2013/02/convict_accuses_michigan_democ.html ^
  20. [1] Jonathan Oosting. “Michigan Democratic Leader Mark Brewer Denies Convict’s Accusation Of Concocting Fake Teak Party Scheme; Republican Leader Calls For Resignation.” MLive. February 1, 2013. Accessed November 23, 2021. https://www.mlive.com/politics/2013/02/convict_accuses_michigan_democ.html ^
  21. Jonathan Oosting. “Michigan Democratic Leader Mark Brewer Denies Convict’s Accusation Of Concocting Fake Teak Party Scheme; Republican Leader Calls For Resignation.” MLive. February 1, 2013. Accessed November 23, 2021. https://www.mlive.com/politics/2013/02/convict_accuses_michigan_democ.html ^
  22. Jonathan Oosting. “Michigan Democratic Leader Mark Brewer Denies Convict’s Accusation Of Concocting Fake Teak Party Scheme; Republican Leader Calls For Resignation.” MLive. February 1, 2013. Accessed November 23, 2021. https://www.mlive.com/politics/2013/02/convict_accuses_michigan_democ.html ^
  23. [1] “Democrats Punish Michigan For Early Primary.” Associated Press. December 1, 2007. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna22054151 ^
  24. “Democrats Punish Michigan For Early Primary.” Associated Press. December 1, 2007. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna22054151 ^
  25. Kathleen Gray. “How Bingo Games Led To $500K Fine For Michigan Democratic Party.” Detroit Free Press. June 9, 2017. Accessed Nov. 24, 2021. https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2017/06/09/bingo-its-costly-game-michigan-democratic-party/381199001/ ^
  26.  [1] Kathleen Gray. “How Bingo Games Led To $500K Fine For Michigan Democratic Party.” Detroit Free Press. June 9, 2017. Accessed Nov. 24, 2021. https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2017/06/09/bingo-its-costly-game-michigan-democratic-party/381199001/ ^
  27. Kathleen Gray. “How Bingo Games Led To $500K Fine For Michigan Democratic Party.” Detroit Free Press. June 9, 2017. Accessed Nov. 24, 2021. https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2017/06/09/bingo-its-costly-game-michigan-democratic-party/381199001/ ^
  28. Kathleen Gray. “Michigan Democrat Party Fined For Campaign Finance Violations.” Detroit Free Press. March 9, 2018. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2018/03/09/michigan-democratic-party-campaign-finance-violations/412118002/ ^
  29. Kathleen Gray. “Michigan Democrat Party Fined For Campaign Finance Violations.” Detroit Free Press. March 9, 2018. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2018/03/09/michigan-democratic-party-campaign-finance-violations/412118002/ ^
  30. Jon King. “FEC Levels Fine Over Slotkin Fundraising PAC Fund Transfer.” October 17, 2021. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://www.whmi.com/news/article/fec-levels-fine-over-slotkin-fundraising-pac-fund-transfer ^
  31. [1] Jon King. “FEC Levels Fine Over Slotkin Fundraising PAC Fund Transfer.” October 17, 2021. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://www.whmi.com/news/article/fec-levels-fine-over-slotkin-fundraising-pac-fund-transfer ^
  32. Michigan Democratic Party Resolutions 2021. Accessed November 26, 2021. https://michigandems.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Michigan-Democratic-Party-Resolutions-2021-3.pdf ^
  33. Michigan Democratic Party Resolutions 2021. Accessed November 26, 2021. https://michigandems.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Michigan-Democratic-Party-Resolutions-2021-3.pdf ^
  34. “About Line 5.” Enbridge. Accessed November 26, 2021. https://www.enbridge.com/projects-and-infrastructure/public-awareness/line-5-michigan/about-line-5 ^
  35. [1] Michigan Democratic Party Resolutions 2021. Accessed November 26, 2021. https://michigandems.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Michigan-Democratic-Party-Resolutions-2021-3.pdf ^
  36. Michigan Democratic Party Resolutions 2021. Accessed November 26, 2021. https://michigandems.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Michigan-Democratic-Party-Resolutions-2021-3.pdf ^
  37. Michigan Democratic Party Resolutions 2021. Accessed November 26, 2021. https://michigandems.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Michigan-Democratic-Party-Resolutions-2021-3.pdf ^
  38. Michigan Democratic Party Resolutions 2020. Accessed November 26, 2021. https://michigandems.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/RESOLUTIONS-1.pdf ^
  39. Michigan Democratic Party Resolutions 2020. Accessed November 26, 2021. https://michigandems.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/RESOLUTIONS-1.pdf ^
  40. Michigan Democratic Party Resolutions 2020. Accessed November 26, 2021. https://michigandems.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/RESOLUTIONS-1.pdf ^
  41. Michigan Democratic Party Resolutions 2020. Accessed November 26, 2021. https://michigandems.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/RESOLUTIONS-1.pdf ^
  42. Michigan Democratic Party Resolutions 2020. Accessed November 26, 2021. https://michigandems.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/RESOLUTIONS-1.pdf ^
  43. Michigan Democratic Party website. Accessed November 26, 2021. https://michigandems.com/chair/ ^
  44. Michigan Democratic Party website. Accessed November 26, 2021. https://michigandems.com/staff/ ^
  45. Christine Jensen.” LinkedIn.com. Accessed November 26, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/christine-jensen-1b38993a/ ^
  46. Michigan Democratic Party. Accessed November 26, 2021. https://michigandems.com/structure/ ^
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