Political Insider: Film company plans documentary about ex-Rep. Bentivolio

Melissa Nann Burke
The Detroit News
Kerry Bentivolio.

A film production company claimed Wednesday that it has acquired the rights to a documentary about one-term U.S. Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, R-Milford, called "The Accidental Congressman."

The film is intended for release in spring of 2020 — just in time for campaign season. 

Appellate Films LLC said in a news release that the documentary will tell the "improbable" story of Bentivolio's election to Congress in 2012 and "will further detail the ensuing lengths of corruption made by the Washington establishment to destroy the man’s life and career."

Appellate Films describes itself as an independent, conservative production, marketing, and distribution company that "focuses on issues of life, liberty, and property."

“Kerry’s story, one of a true political outsider, forced to sink or swim in a sea of career politicians and lobbyists illuminates how out of step Washington, D.C., really is with the rest of the nation,” Appellate Films CEO Craig Bergman said in a statement.

"From envious local politicians scheming to undermine his time in office to his greatest triumphs in our nation’s capital, 'The Accidental Congressman' is going to tell you what it was like to be a real Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."

Appellate said the project has Bentivolio's support. The film is being developed based on a yet unreleased book by the same name by tea party activist Ken Crow. 

An Army veteran and former reindeer rancher, Bentivolio, 67, was elected in 2012 to a seat left vacant when former Republican Rep. Thaddeus McCotter failed to collect enough signatures to make the August 2012 ballot.

Bentivolio lost the seat in Michigan's 11th District two years later in a primary challenge by U.S. Rep. Dave Trott, R-Birmingham, despite a long-shot, write-in campaign in the general election.

Bentivolio unsuccessfully attempted to win the seat back in 2016 and 2018. Last year, he lost the GOP primary in a five-way race, in which he finished last with 11 percent of the vote. 

'Spicy' pizza named for Tlaib

Pie-Sci Pizza in Detroit recently named a pie after U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, called “Impeach the Mother (expletive)," in tribute to her infamous cry a few hours after her swearing in in January. 

"This week's special goes out to our Detroit congresswomen Rashida Tlaib. Thanks for being you!" the pizza shop posted on Instagram last week. 

The pie is a white pizza topped with peaches, mozzarella, kale, lemon-pepper chicken, goat cheese and spicy honey.

Tlaib got a taste over the weekend and registered her approval on social media: "It was yummy." 

“Thank you to my incredible #13thDistrictStrong communities for having my back and uplifting me when so many want to silence me," she wrote. 

Akouri mulls U.S. House run

Freshman U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens, D-Rochester Hills, might soon have her first 2020 challenger. 

Republican John Akouri, a former city councilman in Farmington Hills and president and CEO of the Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce in Royal Oak, says he's formed an exploratory committee to consider candidacy for the U.S. House in District 11. 

"Throughout this period of ‘testing the waters’ I look forward to hearing directly from the voters to better ascertain the best way we can meet the challenges that lie ahead as I travel across Michigan’s 11th Congressional District," Akouri posted on Facebook.

A GOP strategist, Akouri was among those who co-chaired President Donald Trump’s campaign in Michigan in 2016.

Trump was rumored to consider Akouri to be ambassador to Lebanon in 2017 but has never nominated anyone for the post. 

Stevens' campaign sent out a fundraising appeal last week in response to Akouri's move, aiming to raise $10,000 as part of a 48-hour "emergency fundraising drive." 

"We need to respond and prove the power of the grassroots campaign we’ve built," the campaign wrote in an email blast. "Make a donation to stand with Haley and ensure MI-11 stays blue."

Upton, Walberg targeted 

Emily’s List has named Republican U.S. Reps. Fred Upton and Tim Walberg in its first round of 43 House targets for 2020.

Inclusion in the “On Notice” program means the group will "aggressively" recruit challengers to Upton of St. Joseph and Walberg of Tipton and might end up spending in their races, said a spokeswoman for Emily's List, which recruits female candidates who back abortion rights.

“After flipping the House with Democratic women in 2018, we’re ready to send more Republicans packing in 2020. These members have loyally supported their party’s harmful agenda, advancing policies — such as attempting to repeal access to affordable health care — that harm working families in their districts," Emily's List President Stephanie Schriock said in a statement.

"We look forward to sending even more pro-choice Democratic women to Congress next year to fight for health care, economic justice, and to end corruption."