Monthly Archives: January 2022

PAC Man (Guest: Bob LaBrant)

Another huge week in Michigan politics:

Joining the conversation is a legendary figure in Michigan politics, Bob LaBrant.

LaBrant served the Michigan Chamber of Commerce for 34 years, heading the political and legal programs. He is known nationally for his help in organizing corporate, association and chamber political action committees. 

LaBrant has been active in the redistricting process in Michigan over the past four decades. He was the primary architect of Operation Redmap – the successful 2010 effort to take control of redistricting by winning control of the Michigan Legislature. As a result of his efforts, Republicans were able to gerrymander the state to maintain control of the Legislature and congressional delegation for most of the last decade.

Throughout his career, LaBrant aggressively pursued campaign finance legislation, Department of State rulings, campaign finance complaints and political litigation. And, as a longtime friend of Bob’s, I can say that even his most ardent opponents … including Mark … respect Bob for both his incredible political talent and his impeccable integrity.

His role in the 2010 Michigan gerrymander is part of his excellent book “PAC Man: A Memoir”, a revealing look at the real world of contemporary Michigan politics.

Big Lie, Bigger Conspiracy (Guest: Jocelyn Benson)

A coordinated effort to steal the presidential election — by the Trump campaign. Republicans in Michigan and four other states sent forged certificates to Congress “awarding” their electoral votes to the losing candidate, Donald Trump. We’re joined by Michigan’s chief elections officer, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, to discuss the plot along with failed efforts to pass federal voting rights legislation.

Benson is Michigan’s 43rd Secretary of State. She is a former dean of Wayne State University Law School in Detroit, Michigan, a co-founder of the Military Spouses of Michigan and a board member of the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality. Benson is considered one of the nation’s leading experts in election law, and is author of State Secretaries of State: Guardians of the Democratic Process. Benson was elected as Michigan’s Secretary of State in 2018, becoming the first Democrat to hold the office since Richard H. Austin left 24 years earlier.

Secretary Benson graduated magna cum laude where she founded the now-annual Women in American Political Activism conference and was the first student to be elected to serve in the governing body for the town of Wellesley, Massachusetts. Benson received her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School where she was a general editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. Prior to attending law school, Benson worked for the Southern Poverty Law Center as an investigative journalist researching white supremacist and neo-Nazi organizations. Benson has also worked as a summer associate for voting rights and election law for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and as a legal assistant to Nina Totenberg at National Public Radio.

What a Week!

The full half-hour-plus this week is devoted to several amazing developments in Michigan Politics, beginning with the dual scandals enveloping former state House Speaker Lee Chatfield. Accused first of sexual abuse by his now sister-in-law beginning when she was a teenager, he’s now the subject of investigations into his massive political slush fund.

Also on the agenda for Jeff and Mark: musical chairs as Michigan’s members of Congress figure out where they are running after redistricting, and who’s running to join the delegation; covid hits the Governor’s husband and her Lt. Governor in the same week; and Joe Biden takes off the gloves as the 2022 campaign gets underway in earnest.

And don’t forget — we’ve got some great stuff waiting for you at the Merch Store. Check it out!

A Look Back (2021 in Review)

To start the new year, Mark and Jeff take a look back at two of the most tulmultuous issues of 2021: the anniversary of the January 6 assault on the Capitol and Republican efforts to rig future elections.

We go back to some often prescient commentary by five in our roster of amazing 2021 guests:

Michael Steele
Governor Michael Dukakis
Rep. Dan Kildee
Steve Schmidt
Col. Alexander Vindman

We’re back in a week to kick off what promises to be a more-than-lively 2022 campaign season!