The Argus investigated the claims by the 8-D Coordinating Council in today's paper. Here's the story on the mailing
Somebody didn't do their homework before sending out a postcard attacking Brighton Area Schools Board of Education candidate John Conely — and it turned out to be leaders of the district teachers' union.
The 8-D Coordinating Council PAC, a political action committee for Livingston County teachers' unions, sent out a postcard last week to Brighton-area voters linking Conely to 21 lawsuits in Livingston County.
The postcard asks, "Is this the kind of person you want for Brighton school board?" The postcard arrived in homes five days before Tuesday's general election.
The Daily Press & Argus reviewed all the cases and learned only 13 of the 21 involved the school board candidate. The other eight cases involved his father, longtime Brighton businessman Jack Conely, whose legal name is John D. Conely.
The mailing said a key word regarding the civil cases mentioned. It said involved. It did not say "found liable." It did not even say who was the plaintiff or defendant, nor mention if there was a settlement. Most of them were landlord tenant related. How often are those cases in court? If a customer did not pay the rent on his car or property, he was sued after a certain period. That's not unusual. I saw "civil infraction" on that list. Contested Traffic ticket. Big deal.
Barry Goode, president of the Brighton Education Association teachers' union and the 8-D Coordinating Council, disputed there were inaccuracies in the postcard.
Barry should get hit his own checkbook ready and pay up for not having his illegal PAC file its Statement of Organization (over 30 days late) and pre-general report.
There's more on the PAC:
The postcard clearly states it was paid with "regulated funds by the 8-D Coordinating Council PAC." The address is the local office of the Michigan Education Association office in Genoa Township. The MEA is the largest statewide teachers' union.
Although the MEA representative for Brighton schools wasn't available for comment, Barb Cameron, UniServ director for Hartland Consolidated Schools and Howell Public Schools, explained how the coordinating council and its PAC operate. Cameron and other UniServe directors are partially funded by the MEA and serve as liaisons between the state and local unions.
Cameron said the coordinating council is comprised of local teachers' union presidents and other teachers, and the PAC is an offshoot of the council. She said teachers donate money, which is separate from their dues, to the MEA. The MEA then distributes a portion back to local PACs. The coordinating council interviews local candidates and makes recommendations.
Cameron said this particular PAC is legitimate and subject to very strict guidelines.
This PAC is currently illegitimate and not following the most basic of guidelines. It's not registered with the Secretary of State nor with the County Clerk. There is no Statement of Organization. There also isn't any pre-general election report filed. As the local MEA's own newsletter points out, this PAC has been in operation for a period. It needed to file, and it failed to do so.
That's why I turned them into the Secretary of State's office.