PEG 12th Congressional District Newsletter 258

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22 mins read

In her own words, Madeline Albright, 1937–2022

Excerpts from the new afterword of the paperback edition of Madeleine K Albright’s most recent book, Hell and Other Destinations: A 21st Century Memoir. — Washington Post To me, resilience of spirit (far more than brilliance of intellect) is the essential ingredient of a full life….. Clearly, our future leaders will have to be gutsy and resourceful, and so, each in our own way, will we. To those who despair of that possibility, I have a measure of sympathy but little patience. There is no shortage of worthwhile work to be done and … no surplus of seasons in which to achieve our goals. So let us buckle our boots, grab a cane if we need one, and march.


The money behind the petitions, part 1PEG exclusive, part 1

PEG will have a series of articles over the next few weeks identifying the money behind the various petitions.Millions of dollars have been spent on backing Michigan petitions. Committees working both for or against citizen petition initiatives in Michigan have raised a total $10.6 million through December 2021, according to campaign filings submitted by mid-February. Of that money, $9.4 million — almost 90 percent of all contributions — comes from nonprofits such as 501(c)(4)s. The Internal Revenue Code, section 501(c)(4), provides for the tax exemptions for: Social welfare organizations, such as, civic leagues or organizations not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare, and Local associations of employees, the membership of which is limited to the employees of a designated person(s) in a particular municipality, and the net earnings of which are devoted exclusively to charitable, educational or recreational purposes.

These 501(c)(4) organizations are allowed to engage in political activities as long as that’s not their primary purpose. They’re often known as “dark money” groups because they are not required to disclose donors due to their tax-exempt status, making it difficult to trace the source of their revenue or how much they spend on politics. According to Capital Research, “Dark Money refers to political spending meant to influence the decision of a voter, where the donor is not disclosed and the source of the money is unknown. Depending upon the circumstances, Dark Money can refer to funds spent by a political nonprofit or a super PAC.”

This table demonstrates the use of dark money by petition. It is readily apparent that most of the funding for these petitions is not easily identifiable.


Voting in Michigan

Promote the Vote 2022

The coalition supporting this petition states that the measure offers flexibility for voters to cast their ballots, make elections more accessible and ensure election security while protecting voter privacy. This would amend the state constitution. Additional and important specifics can be found here.Promote the Vote 2022 would: Continue to allow people to sign an affidavit attesting to their identity to vote, rather than show official ID. Secure MI Vote would require IDs.Require the Michigan Legislature to fund for postage for absentee ballots as well as a tracking system to allow voters to know the location of their absentee ballot and whether there are any issues.Allow local governments to accept funding from public and charitable sources. That would be banned under Secure MI Vote.Require ballot drop boxes for every 15,000 voters in a municipality.Establish that post-election audits can only be conducted by state and county election officials. The amendment would bar officials from any political party from participating in the audit. A separate ballot measure Audit MI would appoint a political board to perform audits.Allow voters to register for absentee voting for all future elections, without having to reapply. Secure MI Vote would require voters to reapply for absentee ballots every election.The coalition is backed by Promote the Vote Michigan, the ACLU of Michigan, League of Women Voters of Michigan, All Voting is Local, and Voters Not Politicians. In 2018, Promote the Vote successfully pushed for similar voting reform measures, allowing for automatic voter registration, obtaining early and absentee ballots and casting straight-ticket votes. Major funders: There are no campaign finance filings to date. The first quarterly report is due in April under state law.To Do: Sign up here with Voters Not Politicians to collect signatures.

Secure MI Vote

Backers of this proposal, mostly Republicans, say the measure would add safeguards to the election process and ensure there is no fraud. Audits of the past elections have not proven any fraud.This group’s proposal would:Require voter ID for in-person voting and absentee ballot applications and eliminate an affidavit exemption currently allowed for in-person voting without ID.Require partial Social Security numbers for voter registrationRequire voters who don’t present ID in person to present it within six days after the election for the vote to be countedBar unsolicited absentee ballot applications Ban outside funding for elections and restrict mail-in ballotsProvide voters with hardships with free IDs funded by a $3 million state fund.The group that supports this petition shares an office with Michigan Guardians of Democracy, its biggest funder and newly formed dark-money group linked to Heather Lombardini, a longtime Republican who has spent more than two decades in Michigan politics and is a GOP political consultant. In fact, Lombardini is the registered agent for Michigan Guardians of Democracy.

The name, Michigan Guardians of Democracy, on its face sounds like a group you would want to support. However, Michigan Guardians of Democracy gave $750,000 apiece to Secure MI Vote and Unlock Michigan II and $100,000 to private school funding initiative Let MI Kids Learn. Each of the proposals that have received funding support from this organization will: limit rights and flexibility to voting and the length of emergency orders from state or local health officials to 28 days, unless extended by the state Legislature or local governments as well as divert funds from public schools. Michigan Guardians of Democracy claims on its website “VOTER FRAUD IS REAL.” However, more than 250 state audits and both federal and state investigations found no evidence supporting widespread voter fraud.

Major funders: Besides Michigan Guardians of Democracy, the Michigan Republican Party also conducted mailing work for the group that amounted to almost $140,000. Michigan GOP Chair Ron Weiser also personally donated $80,000 to the petition committee. To Do: Make sure you share this information widely to discourage signatures.
WHAT YOU CAN DO?READ AND STUDY THE PROPOSALS – UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE SIGNING!!!!NEXT WEEK – THE MONEY BEHIND THE PETITIONS, Part 2 – Education and Reproductive Freedom for All


Events and Classifieds

Visit the PEG website for the full list of Upcoming Events

Ballot Cure Training

Call voters who need help ensuring that their absentee ballots are counted. This is a critical service to voters in Michigan whose special election ballots are in danger of not being counted. You will learn about what errors require curing, how to guide a voter through the process of submitting the necessary information to their clerk, and how to record that information. Sign up Here.Times available:Sunday, April 10. 11:30 am–12:30 pmSaturday, April 16. 1–3 pmSunday, April 24. 11 am–12 pm

Voter Protection Volunteer Recruiting   

Save these dates to help balance the Michigan House, protecting Michigan Voting Rights. April 3, April 7, April 10, April 21. Calling all phone bankers to GOTV for the May 3 special election to fill four vacant seats in Michigan House Districts. District 15District 36District 43, and District 74Register and get more information

Visit the PEG website to view the comprehensive listing of Upcoming Events!

Classifieds

DemCast is seeking a full team Michigan director. DemCast’s mission is to cultivate, amplify and maximize the impact of grassroots digital media. This is a full time paid position. Applicants should have social media experience and ideally, have relationships with progressive organizations in Michigan. For more information or suggestions for possible applicants, contact DemCast Careers.

Things to do


See which companies have remained in Russia and call them out

The Yale School of Management has created a downloadable Excel spreadsheet of companies that withdrew, suspended operations, and remained in Russia. See Yale School of Management, Over 450 Companies Have Withdrawn from Russia—But Some Remain. Check out the spreadsheet to see if you are a customer, executive, or employee of a company that has decided to remain in Russia despite its war of attrition on the Ukrainian people.
To contextualize the decision of the companies that have decided to remain in Russia, Putin has inflicted $63 billion in damage on Ukrainian infrastructure, has damaged 730 educational institutions, killed 1,139 civilians, including 136 children, caused 3.2 million refugees to flee Ukraine, and is razing major metropolitan areas such as Mariupol and Kherson—all which constitute war crimes. By remaining in Russia, the companies are helping to support the Russian economy, which is (in turn) funding Putin’s war effort. Let them know what you think. Read more here. –Today’s Edition by Robert B. Hubbell
Download the list

Top view hands circle using phone in cafe - Multiracial friends mobile a...

Call your elected officials

Call your Senators (find yours here)Hi, I’m a constituent calling from [zip]. My name is ______.First, Clarence Thomas’s failure to recuse himself in a case involving texts from his wife to Mark Meadows about the attempted coup is unacceptable. The federal law on recusals is clear: “Judges should not participate in proceedings in which their spouse has ‘an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding.” Now that we know that Ginny Thomas does have such an interest, Justice Thomas can no longer participate in matters relating to the insurrection and attempted coup. If he refuses to recuse himself, he needs to be impeached. [H/T]Also, please confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson immediately. Thanks.

Call your House Rep (find yours here)Hi, I’m a constituent calling from [zip]. My name is _______.I’m calling to make sure that the Congressmember is co-sponsoring HR 7018, the Green Postal Service Fleet Act. This bill would force Louis DeJoy to cancel his purchase of 160K new gas powered, non-union-built trucks and instead order at least 75% electric vehicles that are union built. This issue is incredibly important to me.One more thing: I want the Congressmember to support the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act, HR 3617. I know the House will vote this week.
from Chop Wood, Carry Water by Jessica Craven


Things to read, watch, and listen to

A dangerous precedent
The New Hampshire legislature is attempting to prohibit school children from learning what they consider to be “subversive doctrines.” The immediate goal of their current bill is to forbid teaching about slavery and its deep roots in the US Constitution. Their effort has its origins in the McCarthy era with its pressure to impose propaganda in place of open discussion of political, economic, and historical issues.
This bill is dangerous for several reasons:
New Hampshire legislators are attempting to prevent children from learning the truth about America’s oppressive heritage rooted in the Constitution’s text that “one Member [representative] for every thousand Inhabitants 3/5 of Blacks included.” As Adam Sexton of Colorado’s WMUR notes, the founding fathers owned slaves so it was natural and logical that they would perpetuate their views in the governmental document that they wrote and signed.The term “subversive doctrines” is vague enough to allow New Hampshire lawmakers to use it to censor other subjects they don’t like.New Hampshire legislators are providing legal precedents and language that other states can easily replicate.

The fight for voting rights continues
On March 18, Black activists held a “Fight For The Vote” rally to commemorate the 57th anniversary of the March for Voting Rights, which began in Selma and ended in Montgomery, Alabama. Such notables as Jesse Jackson, William Barber II, and Janai Nelson spoke, invoking the past struggle and rekindling activism to protect voting rights.
Voting rights advocates from Black Voters Matters to the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund decried the weakened Voters Rights Act on the national level and the GOP effort to stall new voter protections, as well as multi-state laws to suppress the vote. Their point: The struggle is ongoing.
Cliff Albright, co-founder of Black Voters Matter, said in an interview, “Some people are believing that there’s just nothing that can be done until after the midterms, and therefore, we don’t need to talk about this issue. We think that that would be disastrous. We think that we’ve got to keep this issue fresh on people’s minds, because there’s still attacks taking place, and there are still things that can be done even right now.” The fight is NOW.

Good news

This week, 122 years after the first attempt at antilynching legislation, President Biden has signed the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, designating lynching a federal hate crime punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

Learn More

After being held up in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for eight months, the nomination of Deborah Lipstadt to be the State Department’s envoy to combat and monitor anti-Semitism is heading to the Senate for a vote.Learn More

WTF Section

Michigan GOP House candidate vows to introduce “Don’t Say Gay” legislationRepublican candidate for the Michigan House District 78 says if elected, he will introduce legislation similar to the recently signed Florida bill “Don’t Say Gay.” The candidate, Jon Rocha, said ‘his proposal would ban “discussion, or dissemination of materials, that involves sexual orientation, gender identity, or any sexually explicit content, in kindergarten through 4th grade.”’

Jay Kaplan, an attorney for the ACLU, said, “If you look at the actual language of Florida’s law, it is so broad, and it’s so vague in terms of terminology. It has the impact of potentially taking everything off the table.” Also, the Florida legislation “would allow parents to sue school districts if their child is exposed to instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity deemed to not be “age-appropriate,” which the Florida Phoenix reports could include anything from kindergarten through high school.’
Learn More

Latest on texts from Ginni Thomas to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows

1. An email exchange suggests Thomas was pressuring other Republicans in Congress, too.
2. A prominent conservative legal scholar said recent disclosures raise real questions about the need for Justice Thomas to recuse from future cases related to the Jan. 6 insurrection.
3. If the committee does not summon Ms. Thomas, it runs the risk of appearing to have a double standard, as it has subpoenaed many other potential witnesses with only a tangential connection to the events of January 6. –Politico

Learn More

A special thanks to our Newsletter contributors: Ellen Halter, Leslie McGraw, Leslie Kamil, Lisa Kamil, Richard Gaeth, Susie Ayer, Bette Cotzin, Into Action Lab, and Chuck Newman for their contributions and help preparing our newsletters. Team cartoon pick of the week

Write us at equalityingovinfo@gmail.com if you would like help create our weekly newsletter OR if you would like to be a guest contributor! It’s fun and no ongoing commitment is required.

Visit EqualityInGov.org

PEG is a (mostly) non-partisan volunteer organization whose mission is to assure that our government will treat all Americans with equality and acceptance. PEG’s work is primarily done by recruiting, educating and nurturing supporters for worthy organizations, actions and events that reflect our beliefs. The weekly PEG Newsletter typically goes out each Thursday. To subscribe to this free newsletter, go to our sign up form by clicking here.


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