Political Insider: Snyder forgives early campaign loans

In this July 24, 2018 file photo, Gov. Rick Snyder answers questions after a press conference in Portage, Mich. Snyder officially forgave more than $5 million he had loaned to his campaign when he launched what was considered a long-shot bid for the 2010 gubernatorial election.

Leaving office turned out to be an expensive proposition for former Gov. Rick Snyder. 

The Ann Arbor Republican and former business executive officially forgave more than $5 million he had loaned to his campaign when he launched what was considered a long-shot bid for the 2010 gubernatorial election.

The Snyder campaign dissolved earlier this year after using most of its remaining balance to repay Sue Snyder for a $55,589.38 loan she had made in 2009 during the early days of her husband’s run.

Snyder and his wife loaned his campaign more than $6 million that election cycle but forgave that vast majority of that upon leaving office. All told, the campaign repaid the Snyders a total of $892,783.

The Michigan Bureau of Elections approved the Snyder campaign's dissolution request on Feb. 19. The campaign will be required to maintain committee records for at least five years under state law.

As The Detroit News previously reported, Snyder has formed a new company called “RPAction.” He also recently joined the national advisory committee for a new group spearheaded by former Ohio Gov. John Kasich to “promote reasonable and proven solutions to America’s challenges.”

Whitmer keeps raising money

Five months into her first term, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is poised to appear at a fundraiser to benefit her campaign well ahead of a likely re-election bid in 2022.

The Whitmer campaign is inviting donors to a “hometown heroes” reception on May 5 at Green Dot Stables in her hometown of East Lansing, with tickets ranging from $100 for a “friend” to $1,000 for a “host.”

Gretchen Whitmer

Hosts already listed on the invitation include a wide range of Democratic donors and elected officials, including Lansing Mayor Andy Schor, state Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr., state Rep. Sarah Anthony, Michigan State University Trustee Joe Ferguson and Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope.

Several of Whitmer’s department heads are also listed as hosts, including Transportation Director Paul Ajegba, Environmental Director Liesl Clark and Insurance Director Anita Fox.

A governor raising money early in his or her term is not unusual. Former Gov. Rick Snyder reported $346,300 in contributions through the end of his first year in office.

Peters mum on impeachment

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat running for president, is calling on the House of Representatives to begin impeachment proceedings over findings about President Donald Trump in the Mueller report.

But U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, a Michigan Democrat up for re-election in 2022, is not weighing in on her call.

Peters on Monday described Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report documenting Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election as “disturbing” even though the investigation did not find the Trump campaign conspired with the foreign government.

Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI)

The Trump campaign “was aware of those actions” but didn’t report them to law enforcement, Peters said. “And that’s just simply unacceptable behavior on the part of an American campaign.”

But the Bloomfield Township resident demurred when asked about Warren’s call for impeachment, saying it will be a decision made by the U.S. House and majority Democrats, who have asked Mueller to testify before a congressional committee in coming weeks.

If the House moved forward and approved articles of impeachment, the proceedings would move to the Senate, “and each senator then is basically a juror in that situation,” Peters said.

“And you wouldn’t ask a juror before a trial what’s their opinion on the case, and I don’t think its appropriate for senators to be engaged in that, given the fact that if there is an impeachment, we’ll be the ones sitting in judgement.”

Upton added to 'vulnerable' list 

The National Republican Congressional Committee has added longtime U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, to its Patriot Program, which aims to help vulnerable incumbents with a fundraising and organizational boost.

Upton, first elected in 1986 in his southwest Michigan district, won re-election last fall by his slimmest margin ever, defeating political newcomer Matt Longjohn by less than 5 percentage points.

Upton is the only Michigan Republican currently listed as a target by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. 

“Our initial Patriot Program Members are among the most accomplished and effective members in the Republican conference,” said Rep. John Katko, R-New York, chairman of the program. 

“While Democrats continue to call them ‘targets,’ the NRCC will be empowering these members to stay on offense and run aggressive, organized campaigns against their Democratic challengers."

The Democratic primary in the 6th District could draw another crowd, with Longjohn considering another run and state Rep. Jon Hoadley, D-Kalamazoo, already in the race.

Eight other House Republicans are in the first round of the Patriots Program: Reps. Don Bacon of Nebraska, Lee Zeldin of New York, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Michael McCaul, John Carter, Will Hurd and Pete Olson of Texas, and Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington.