Friday, April 27, 2007

Breaking the Law, Breaking the Law - Campaign Finance Violation in Howell Schools election

Folks, we have a campaign finance violation in Howell.

Last year, I got an MEA postcard in the mail for the Howell elections. It was green, with a return address from East Lansing, and mentioned their endorsed candidates.

This year, the postcards are back. They are Green, and have these two messages on them. "Howell teachers support Edwin J Literski & Dan Fondriest for Howell School Board" and "Please remember to vote for Edwin J Literski and Dan Fondriest on Tuesday, May 8."

On that postcard, there is NO MENTION of a "PAID FOR BY..." or even a return address. There is no mention of the organization behind the postcard. That is bigtime illegal. Someone is breaking our campaign finance laws. I do not know who has done so, but I do have some strong suspicions. I do know that it was the MEA (in East Lansing) who gave out postcards last year, of the same color. This year, the MEA has endorsed Fondriest and Literski.

I do not believe this came from the campaigns themselves of Literski and Fondriest. Literski is running with Jeannine Pratt and not Fondriest. The campaign finance reports of Pratt and Literski are out and everything there looks above board as far as I can see. (FYI - their top backers are Howell attorney Tim Livingston, Former board member Mike Hall, Leader of 2005 enhancement millage Bonnie White, Brighton attorney Mike Hatty, and Judge David Reader who is Pratt's boss). While the campaigns of Literski and Fondriest are beneficiaries of the illegal conduct, more likely than not, they did not do it themselves, and probably did not know about it. Those two have no motive for an ad like that.

The MEA has all the motive in the world for this. They are based in East Lansing, not Livingston County. In today's economy, union leadership is not popular in Livingston County. The 2005 millage and higher taxes are not popular either. They are probably guessing that mailing with their logo on it are counterproductive. That gives them a reason to simply say "Howell teachers" and not "MEA-PAC", which is their proper name.

Did they do it? I'm not 100% sure, but I am sure enough to place a bet on it if I was a betting man.

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