Insider: Dark money veterans group backs Peters with ads

Beth LeBlanc Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Days after a GOP group launched a nearly $1 million advertising campaign critical of U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, a liberal group announced it was going on air to promote the incumbent Democrat.

VoteVets Action Fund said in a Wednesday press release that it would be spending $750,000 on ads touting Peters' "career of service in the military and public office, and the results he delivered." The ads seem designed to counter Peters' Republican opponent, Iraq War veteran John James of Farmington Hills. 

A liberal group called VoteVets Action Fund announced Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019, it would be running $750,000 in ads promoting U.S. Sen. Gary Peters.

VoteVets described itself as the "largest progressive group of veterans in America." A 2016 report from the Center for Public Integrity described the group as a "liberal 'dark money' nonprofit."

The new ads will start airing Thursday in multiple TV markets, including Detroit, Flint and Grand Rapids, according to a press release.

Last week, the Republican group Restoration PAC disclosed it was spending $879,294 on television advertising and $100,000 on digital advertising against Peters of Bloomfield Township.

In 2020, Peters is running for a second six-year term in the U.S. Senate against businessman James, who lost to incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, in 2018 by 6.5 percentage points.

Chaffetz visits Michigan House

Republican former Congressman Jason Chaffetz visited the Michigan House of Representatives Wednesday in between appearances at area GOP events.

Chaffetz became familiar to Michiganians in March 2016 as the House Oversight committee chairman overseeing the Flint congressional hearings. He and other Republicans called for the resignation of then-Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy, while Democrats urged then-Republican Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to resign.

Former U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, is now a contributor on the Fox News Channel.

Chaffetz, a Fox News contributor, was announced on the House floor and spent time taking photos with lawmakers.

The Utah former congressman was a featured guest at the Bay County Republican Party Lincoln Day dinner Tuesday and was scheduled to attend the Kalamazoo Lincoln Day event Wednesday, according to the county parties' websites.

Chaffetz also became well known while leading investigations into the 2012 attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya; the IRS targeting of conservative groups; and Planned Parenthood. He is a former Democrat.

Chaffetz announced his resignation from Congress at the end of June to spend more time with family. 

Race decided by 2 votes?

Two votes may have decided a race for three seats on the East Lansing City Council.

The third place finisher and the current mayor of East Lansing, Mark Meadows, got 1,951 votes, according to unofficial results available Wednesday, a day after the election. The fourth place finisher and another incumbent, Erik Altmann, received 1,949 votes.

Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum said the results would likely be certified on Thursday.

The top two finishers weren't incumbents: Jessy Gregg, who got 2,944 votes; and Lisa Babcock, who received 2,871.

Meadows and Altmann didn't respond Wednesday evening to requests for comment.