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DeVos supported Michigan Freedom Fund says anti-gerrymandering group is hyper-partisan

December 21, 2017

A few days ago, the group Voters Not Politicians delivered 425,000 signatures to Lansing, hoping to get a 2018 ballot initiative that would put an end to gerrymandering of political districts. One organization that is opposing this effort is the Michigan Freedom Fund.

The Michigan Freedom Fund was the creation of Greg McNeilly, a DeVos political operative who also serves as the spokesperson for Dick & Betsy DeVos entity know as the Windquest Group. The Michigan Freedom Fund was created by the DeVos operative McNeilly right around the time that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder was deciding to make Michigan a Right to Work state. It is no coincidence that the Michigan Freedom Fund and Right to Work were happening at the same time. The Michigan Freedom Fund is essentially designed to promote and lobby to neoliberal economic reforms and attack working class efforts and labor unions, which becomes clear when you look at their Facebook page

On the matter of the anti-gerrymandering ballot initiative, here is what the Michigan Freedom Fund had to say:

Voters Not Politicians, the organization submitting signatures today to put Michigan redistricting in the hands of partisan bureaucrats, potentially running afoul of the Voting Rights Act, is led exclusively by partisan Democratic donors, activists, and a Democratic trial attorney, according to public records, the Federal Election Commission and the Michigan Campaign Finance database.

According to campaign finance records, 7 of the 10 members of the ballot committee’s leadership have donated a combined $5,648 to Democratic candidates and causes, including Mark Schauer, Virg Bernero, Jennifer Granholm, Hillary Clinton, ACT BLUE, and many more. A list of the donations can be found here.

The Committee’s President, Katie Fahey, is a former Hillary Clinton activist who made national news last November when she traveled to New York to participate in Clinton’s later-scuttled victory party.

Jim Lancaster, the Committee’s attorney, is a longtime, prominent Michigan Democratic trial lawyer.

Vice President and Policy Coordinator Nancy Wang, Canvassing and Field Team Director Jamie Lyons-Eddy, Marketing and Communications Director Amelia Quilon, Advisory Council Director Walt Sorg, Outreach and Data Integrity Director Davia Downey, Education Director Lija Hogan, and Finance Director John Hanieski have all written personal checks to Democratic candidates or causes. Not one has contributed a penny to a Republican cause or candidate.

“Voters Not Politicians has been dishonest with voters from the start,” said Terri Reid, President of the Michigan Freedom Fund. “This organization was created by Democrats, run by Democrats, and, undoubtedly, bankrolled by Democrats. Voters deserve better than this kind of partisan masquerade. They deserve transparency. They deserve the truth.”

For an organization that is deeply partisan and is run by a DeVos political operative, the Michigan Freedom Fund has no credibility when it comes to calling out groups for being hyper-partisan.

Having said that, the fact that many Democratic Party operates are behind the anti-gerrymandering campaign is disconcerting. If the ballot initiative passes in 2018, it only means that Voters Not Politician’s wants to establish an Independent Citizen Redistricting Commission through a state constitutional amendment. However, what is to prevent that Commission from not being made up of partisan representatives and who will oversee their efforts.

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