Michigan GOP senator to Colbeck: Are you prepared to discuss election under oath?

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News
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Lansing — Michigan Sen. Ed McBroom, the Republican who leads the Senate Oversight Committee, says he is concerned that former GOP gubernatorial candidate Patrick Colbeck is "ignoring truth" as he continues to make unsubstantiated claims of fraud in the 2020 election.

McBroom, R-Vulcan, sent Colbeck, a former state senator himself, a two-page letter on Friday, apparently responding to a request by Colbeck to appear before the Oversight Committee at a future meeting, according to a document obtained by The Detroit News.

"Are you also prepared to be under oath to answer additional questions about yourself?" McBroom wrote in the letter to Colbeck. "The chair will not prevent committee members from inquiring into the allegations made against you in lawsuits or media when they are relevant to your testimony regarding the 2020 election.

Colbeck

"Questions about your financial gain and personal credibility are entirely relevant and admissible. I advise you to seek out legal counsel prior to putting yourself into such a position."

Colbeck, a conservative activist from Canton Township, has been in the spotlight in recent days after Dominion Voting Systems asked him to retract false claims he's been making about the company and its election technology, which is used in the majority of Michigan counties to tabulate results.

The former state senator has created a PowerPoint presentation on the 2020 election and previously appeared before the Senate Oversight Committee on Dec. 1 but did not testify under oath. During that hearing, he criticized the media and claimed there was "rampant" voter fraud.

“What I hope to provide you today is just a snippet of information that indicates it was rampant," Colbeck told lawmakers. "It doesn’t have to be rampant to be significant.”

Dominion's attorneys said Colbeck had solicited more than $1 million from audiences while "knowingly sowing discord in our democracy." Colbeck has denied that claim. According to his response to Dominion, he's raised $30,195 through memberships and donations from his website over the last nine months.

"Their letter is yet another example of an orchestrated campaign by election fraud-deniers to infringe upon our fundamental civil rights such as our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and the redress of grievances," Colbeck wrote in a response to Dominion posted on his website.

According to McBroom's letter, Colbeck has sought to appear again before the Senate Oversight Committee, which has been examining the 2020 election, because he has "new information" that he feels lawmakers must know.

Colbeck didn't respond to a request for comment.

McBroom wrote that during Colbeck's Dec. 1 presentation before the panel, he said systems at TCF Center, where Detroit's absentee ballots were counted, were connected to the internet.

"I asked if you could prove that such a connection had resulted in some changing or manipulation of votes, but you did not have that material," McBroom wrote. "I do not see such definitive demonstrations in your materials."

Colbeck also privately messaged members of the Senate Oversight Committee to say Dominion CEO John Poulus was "lying" when Poulus appeared before the committee on Dec. 15, according to McBroom's letter. Poulus testified under oath.

"Your online resources also allege many things about Dominion that Mr. Poulus specifically denied were true," McBroom said. "Yet, no legal action has been taken by yourself or anyone else related to his statements before the committee.

"Nor do your slides present a rebuttal to the testimony he gave but rather continue the same allegations about Smartmatic, Venezuela, and China that were the reasons we asked him questions about those things in the first place."

The Senate Oversight Committee chairman wrote Colbeck has been his friend for many years but McBroom is "desperately concerned that you are ignoring truth."

McBroom

"Certainly, your willingness to persist with failed arguments and to associate with those who are known liars must, at the least, strike you as dangerous to all who you would seek to convince of your commitment to truth," McBroom continued. "While it is not wrong to seek for the real truth when one issue has been debased, you seem to hold on to what is no longer tenable while incorporating new speculation and convoluted hypothesis — this does not add to credibility."

The Senate chairman concluded his letter by saying he would give Colbeck an opportunity to testify if he can provide a summary of new information he plans to present or if he plans to "provide amendments" to his past testimony "should those statements or commitments have been subsequently found to be unobtainable or unverifiable."

Colbeck is an influential figure among conservative GOP groups in Michigan. He came in third place in the GOP primary race for governor in 2018 with 13% of the vote. Then-Attorney General Bill Schuette received 51%, and then-Lt. Gov. Brian Calley got 25%.

cmauger@detroitnews.com

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