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Michigan GOP panel to consider resolution against election report author

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Lansing — A committee inside the Michigan Republican Party plans to consider Saturday a proposal that calls for the resignation of GOP state Sen. Ed McBroom, who led a probe finding no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election.

While Norm Shinkle, the chairman of the party's Issues Committee, says he will oppose the resolution, its introduction points to the continued rift within the Michigan GOP over former President Donald Trump's loss in November.

Michigan Sen Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan) opens session with the invocation, then huddles with staff at his desk, and talks over plans with other Senators on the floor, on June 30, 2021, at the Capitol in Lansing.

The proposed resolution, obtained by The Detroit News, describes the Senate Oversight Committee's eight-month investigation into the 2020 election as "the product of gross official misconduct." The resolution primarily focuses on the Senate report's suggestion that Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel consider investigating individuals who pushed false claims about the election "to raise money or publicity for their own ends."

"In the broader context of ongoing attacks against the American people’s right to free speech and the right to counsel, the report bolsters and encourages these attacks in a transparent attempt to intimidate and silence all citizens exposing the misconduct of election officials, challenging the results of the election and advocating for legal and policy remedies," the proposed resolution says.

Shinkle said the resolution was backed by Kurt Foulds, a member of the Issues Committee from the 13th Congressional District. In an email to fellow Republicans, Shinkle described McBroom as a "pro-life" and "pro-God" lawmaker and the resolution as "unhelpful and irresponsible."

"This makes no sense," Shinkle said of the proposed resolution in an interview.

But David Dudenhoefer, chairman of the 13th Congressional District Republican Committee, said the resolution was supported by his group. McBroom had betrayed Republicans, Dudenhoefer said.

"We’ve got enough people attacking us without fellow Republicans attacking us," Dudenhoefer said. "If you do that, you’ve got to go."

McBroom, a first-term senator from the Upper Peninsula, said his panel had evidence of potential crimes and he had a legal and moral duty to refer the matters to Nessel. The referral is about very specific situations in which individuals were using misinformation, while ignoring counter information, for their own benefit.

In recent weeks, many of his Republican colleagues in the Legislature have defended McBroom, labeling him a "man of integrity."

The Michigan Senate's report, led by McBroom of Vulcan, chairman of the Oversight Committee, was developed through 28 hours of committee testimony from about 90 people, a review of thousands of subpoenaed documents and hundreds of hours of Senate staff investigation.

The report's conclusion that there was no systemic fraud in the election directly conflicted with the statements of some GOP activists and Trump himself, who have continued to levy unsubstantiated claims of widespread wrongdoing in Michigan and have sought to overturn the battleground state's election results based on those assertions.

Democrat Joe Biden won Michigan by 154,000 votes or 3 percentage points. More than 200 reviews by election officials, bipartisan boards of canvassers and a series of court rulings have upheld the outcome.

The Oversight Committee's recommendation that Nessel investigate those spreading falsehoods about the election for their own gain has been controversial in Republican circles. The Democratic attorney general has decided to take up the committee's suggestion. 

In an interview in June, McBroom said his committee found what appeared to be "potentially fraudulent activity" among some individuals who have been making false claims about the election.

The Michigan Republican Party has faced internal struggles since the November election over how to handle unproven claims of voter fraud. Its former executive director, Jason Roe, who criticized Trump, resigned earlier this month, and some GOP lawmakers have called for a new audit of the election while others have opposed the idea.

In addition to the resolution against McBroom, the Issues Committee is also scheduled to consider a censure resolution against U.S. Reps. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, and Peter Meijer, R-Grand Rapids Township, for supporting the creation of an independent commission to probe the violent Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and a resolution calling for unity within the party.

"... (F)or the sake of our children’s future, we must win in 2022," the proposed unity resolution says.

If the Issues Committee approves any of the resolutions, they can then go before the full Michigan Republican Party state committee.

cmauger@detroitnews.com