GOP research group aims to fight 'liberal activism' in Michigan

Tori Sachs is executive director of the newly launched nonprofit Michigan Rising Action.

The national Republican group America Rising Squared has started a Michigan affiliate dedicated to opposition research and tracking of Democratic elected officials and candidates. 

Michigan Rising Action launched last week as a nonprofit organization that will focus on candidate tracking, fact checking, research and rapid response, said Tori Sachs, the group's executive director.   

“Michigan is really becoming a national target for liberal activism and policies, and we needed a state-focused, full-time effort to research the issues that are being put out, promote conservative issues and show a good compare-and-contrast to Michiganders about what the issues should mean to them," Sachs said. 

America Rising's PAC is known in part for its extensive network of trackers, who follow a political candidate or office holder and record whatever they do or say.

Michigan Rising Action's trackers will focus on statewide office holders, state legislators and members of Congress in competitive seats, such as freshman Rep. Elissa Slotkin of Holly, and Sen. Gary Peters of Bloomfield Township, who is up for reelection next year.

“As other races and candidates become more well-known, we’ll be doing them, as well as people who are already elected," Sachs said. 

America Rising Squared has just two other state affiliates in Colorado and Missouri. 

Sachs declined to discuss the Michigan group's budget, financial backers or how many staff or trackers the group intends to employ.

Because it registered as a so-called "social welfare" group under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code, Michigan Rising Action is not required to disclose its donors. 

Sachs said contributors to Michigan Rising Action are “people who share our values and people who want to talk about the same kind of conservative issues that we are talking about.”

Sachs, a veteran GOP operative, worked for six years for Gov. Rick Snyder's administration, as well as Snyder's two gubernatorial campaigns. Last year, she ran businessman John James' unsuccessful campaign for U.S. Senate.

Marshal pick has White House ties

President Donald Trump’s pick to be the next U.S. marshal for the Eastern District of Michigan has a champion in the administration: His sister, who is a top assistant to White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway.

But the White House maintains that Owen M. Cypher, currently deputy marshal in the Detroit office, is a “highly qualified” nominee whose credentials speak for themselves.

“Owen is a decorated Marine veteran, received the Marshall Service’s highest award for valor and is well-respected by his peers,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Steven Groves told The Detroit News.

“We look forward to the Senate moving quickly to confirm this capable nominee.” 

Trump announced his intent to nominate Cypher in August and formally sent the nomination to the U.S. Senate last week. Cypher has worked for the Marshals Service since 2003, including as a senior inspector in asset forfeiture investigations and protective intelligence investigations. 

Michigan Democratic Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Peters will help decide Cypher’s confirmation but declined to weigh in on Cypher's nomination or family connection in the White House.

Catharine Cypher, his sister, serves as special assistant to Conway, who ran part of Trump’s 2016 campaign and is now a counselor to the president.

Catharine Cypher previously worked as an aide to GOP U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga of Zeeland and studied at Grand Valley State University.

Mich. native promoted at Treasury

The Senate on Wednesday voted 54-38 to confirm Michigan native Brent McIntosh to be undersecretary for international affairs at the U.S. Treasury. 

The Senate has confirmed Michigan native Brent McIntosh as undersecretary for international affairs at the U.S. Treasury.

McIntosh, who currently serves as Treasury's general counsel, replaces another Michigan native — David Malpass, who left Treasury to lead the World Bank in the spring.

Democrats had criticized McIntosh and a colleague in part for their roles in the Treasury Department’s decision to deny a congressional request for Trump’s tax returns.

McIntosh, who was born and raised in Michigan, previously served as a White House lawyer as an associate counsel to President George W. Bush and later as deputy assistant to the president and deputy staff secretary.

Before that, he worked for the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy and as a partner at the law firm Sullivan & Cromwell.

McIntosh earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan and his law degree from Yale.

Spies to Dickinson Wright

Election law attorney Charlie Spies has left the firm Clark Hill for Dickinson Wright in Washington. 

Spies, who grew up in East Grand Rapids, is counsel to the Republican Attorneys General Association. He previously was at the Republican National Committee, the Republican Governors Association and was counsel for Mitt Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Charlie Spies, a Michigan native and election law attorney.

He currently represents GOP lawmakers in the Michigan redistricting litigation, as well as the Michigan Republican Party in its challenge to the implementation of the state Redistricting Commission.

Spies also represents numerous campaigns — including Republican John James' U.S. Senate campaign — super PACs, trade associations and nonprofit groups. 

The first major political campaign he worked on was Ronna Romney's U.S. Senate race (Romney is mother to Ronna Romney McDaniel, chairwoman of the RNC). 

He graduated from the University of Michigan and from Georgetown University Law Center.