Weiser becomes Trump fundraiser, says he’ll ‘do well’

Detroit News staff

The Republican National Committee and presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump have named two Michigan GOP mega donors to serve on a newly-formed Trump Victory Committee.

Ann Arbor real estate developer Ron Weiser, a former RNC finance chairman, and Bloomfield Hills real estate investor C. Michael Kojaian have jumped on board the national fund-raising effort to help Trump win the White House and aid Republicans seeking other federal and state offices.

“It’s an important function,” said Weiser, who hopes to be one of the down-ballot Republicans as a candidate for the University of Michigan Board of Regents.

Weiser, a former Michigan Republican Party chairman, stayed officially neutral during the divisive Republican primaries. He also is co-chairing a super political action committee called Future45 that was formed with the intent of defeating likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Kojaian previously co-chaired Jeb Bush’s fund-raising efforts in Michigan and contributed more than $300,000 to Bush’s super PAC before the former Florida governor bowed out of the race at the hands of Trump. Kojaian’s company, Kojaian Management Corp., contributed $50,000 to the Future45 anti-Clinton super PAC, records show.

Weiser said Tuesday he’s optimistic about Trump’s chances of defeating Clinton, pointing to polling data showing a close head-to-head race in Pennsylvania, where Democratic candidates are typically favored to win.

“I think he’s going to do well,” Weiser told The Detroit News.

Lawmakers join changing caucuses

Members of Congress quickly learn that it pays to join caucuses -- groups of lawmakers focused on advancing legislation that helps certain causes or industries.

The result is a mushrooming and morphing of groups during each two-year term. In this session alone, there are caucuses dedicated to algae, “blue dogs,” toys, “problem solvers” and rugby.

During the past month, Dearborn Democrat Rep. Debbie Dingell joined Reps. Joe Barton, R-Texas; Ted Lieu, D-California; and Joe Wilson, R-S.C., in creating the bipartisan House Smart Transportation Caucus, a group dedicated to promoting connected and autonomous vehicles.

It joins the other transportation-related groups including the old-fashioned House Automotive Caucus, in which Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, is a vice co-chairman.

“The future of the auto industry is changing at a rapid pace, and we are committed to keeping the U.S. in the driver’s seat,” Dingell said in a statement.

Although the caucus pledges to encourage the “development and deployment of existing ... technologies...,” the “Smart Transportation” name does leave the unfortunate implication that perhaps human-driven, internal-combustion-engine cars and trucks are now considered, uh, dumb.

Former representative moving to CNN for series

Former U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers is building on his budding media career with a new limited-run series on CNN.

The Howell Republican, who chaired the House Intelligence Committee and previously served as a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, will host “Declassified: Untold Stories of American Spies,” the cable network announced this week.

The eight-part original series will debut at 10 p.m. June 19. Each episode will feature a separate mission told “first-hand by the agents who lived it.” Rogers will serve as an executive producer.

“‘Declassified’ covers missions set in fascinating locations and time periods from Cold War-era Moscow to modern-day Iran, from the streets of 1980s Cuba to today’s bustling Beijing,” according to CNN.

Rogers, one of the most frequent Sunday morning talk show guests during his tenure in Congress, surprised political analysts in 2014 by announcing he was retiring to work in radio. He continues to host “Something to Talk About,” a 60-second segment syndicated on stations across the country.

Contributors: Jonathan Oosting and Chad Livengood