Last week the Michigan Democratic Party filed a campaign complaint alleging Secretary of State employee Allan Filip was working to recall a Democratic lawmaker on company time. Filip was hired as the SOS’s “director of external affairs” last December, and he is hiring people to collect signatures for the six Democratic House members that have approved recall language.
“Ruth Johnson claims she is a reformer but one of her top-ranking appointees was caught doing political work on state time,” said Mark Brewer, Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party. “How many other Johnson employees are using state time to recall Democratic lawmakers?”
This “grassroots effort” is paying people $100 a day to collect signatures and $50 for a half day. The deadline for getting it on the February ballot is Nov. 23. The most serious effort is against Rep. Lisa Brown, D- West Bloomfield.
MIRS reported that paid Republican employees in Oakland County were going door-to-door collecting signatures, and that they were told they would be paid $75 for the first 25 signatures they gathered, with a $25 bonus if they hit 100. It’s unclear if that is above and beyond the $50 to $100 Filip is paying them.
Filip claims he left the SOS’s office before he started coordinating the recalls, but for those of us who live in Livingston County, we are a bit skeptical of Mr. Filip. The Hartland Township resident was once the chair of the Livingston County Republican Party. In the two years he was the chair, he was, perhaps, one of the most partisan chairs the party ever had. Under his “leadership,” he attempted to politicize nonpartisan elections, improperly tried to influence a bond issue and made a false accusation that the county Democrats carried signs depicting “hate speech” in the Melonfest parade.
That performance earned him a promotion to Michigan Republican Party in 2009 where he was named as the “director of field operations” before coming to the SOS office. To further show how partisan Johnson is, the person coordinating the Democratic recalls and going to the clarity hearings is Stu Sandler, who chaired Johnson’s transition team.
Past Secretary of State’s including the last SOS, Republican Terry Land, have advocated for no-reason absentee voting and early voting to make voting easier and more convenient, but Johnson has taken the opposite approach, looking to make voting harder and suppress turnout.
Johnson has held or run for just about every partisan office in Michigan; she was an Oakland County Commissioner, Clerk, State Senator, State Representative and she was also Dick DeVos’s unsuccessful running mate in 2006.
She is pushing a package of bills that includes Senate Bill 754 that will make it harder for people to register to vote and harder for the nonprofit organizations to register people to vote. This is part of the nationwide effort of Republicans to suppress the vote in 2012 because they know when more people vote, they lose and the country wins.