Insider: Michigan GOP chair gave to embattled candidate amid probe
Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser, who's faced a high-profile campaign finance probe and controversy over calling the state's female leaders "witches," gave a maximum contribution in May to a U.S. Senate candidate who's no stranger to scandal.
Weiser, a wealthy businessman and University of Michigan regent, gave $5,800 to former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens' Senate campaign on May 8, according to a new disclosure filed with the Federal Election Commission. Greitens, a Republican, resigned as Missouri's governor in 2018 amid claims of sexual misconduct and campaign violations, according to the Associated Press.
Greitens was once seen as a rising star within the GOP, but that changed after news broke that he had an affair with his former hairdresser and after a campaign finance investigation. The woman told a legislative committee that Greitens had slapped and restrained her during sexual encounters, according to the Associated Press.
Weiser's contribution to Greitens came five days after the Michigan Bureau of Election sent the Michigan Republican Party's legal counsel a letter, contending that the state GOP, under Weiser's leadership, "made prohibited expenditures from its administrative account" to a candidate for secretary of state in 2018. The state party eventually agreed to pay $200,000 to resolve the campaign finance complaint that focused on claims that Weiser used party funds to lure Stan Grot, a secretary of state candidate, out of a race for the nomination in 2018.
Weiser has contended he did nothing wrong. His spokesman didn't respond to a request for comment on the contribution to Greitens Friday.
Rodericka Applewhaite, spokeswoman for the Michigan Democratic Party, slammed Weiser's donation, saying she wasn't shocked a man who called Michigan's statewide elected officials "witches" had given money to Greitens.
Weiser has apologized for the "witches" comment.
"We’d call on Weiser to immediately request a refund and donate those thousands of dollars to groups combating domestic violence in Michigan, but we know the morally bankrupt rot he calls party leadership set in months ago," Applewhaite said.
Weiser served as national finance chairman on the Missouri Republican's 2016 campaign for governor.
Biden picks Whitmer
President Joe Biden this month appointed Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to a two-year term on the bipartisan Council of Governors, an advisory group that focuses on matters of homeland defense, cybersecurity, the National Guard and disaster response and recovery.
Biden, who had considered Whitmer as his vice presidential pick, has named nine governors to the council in all and named two current members, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, as co-chairs.
The other new governors appointed by Biden are Delaware Gov. John Carney, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott and Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon. They join Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee on the council whose term expires next year.
The council, first set up in 2010 by President Barack Obama, is comprised of 10 governors selected by the president, with five from each party. The council works with the secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security, the president's homeland security and counterterrorism advisor, the Commander of U.S. Northern Command and the chief of the National Guard Bureau.
The National Governors Association said the group is a forum for the exchange of information and for discussion of proposals and recommendations affecting the National Guard or military operations that work in support of state and domestic officials.
Whitmer was also reelected this month to the NGA's Executive Committee.
"It is my honor to continue serving on the NGA’s Executive Committee, where Republicans and Democrats come together to tackle big issues with bold ideas,” Whitmer said.
“I will bring a Michigander’s perspective to this national group and I look forward to learning from the diverse group of leaders who are all committed to collaborating on challenges we all face.”