Bolger, Schmidt evade charges for election scheme

Updated: Thursday, August 15, 2013
Bolger, Schmidt evade charges for election scheme story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A few days ago, a year-long grand jury of one cleared House Speaker Jase Bolger, of Marshall, and former State Representative Roy Schmidt of any criminal wrong doing in their keystone cops effort to rig an election last year with a fake Democratic opponent.

Tonight in Tom’s Corner, Tom Van Howe says that while they may not be crooks, there’s nothing suggesting either one can be trusted.

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How it can be that an effort to trick, to fool, to defraud voters, is anything but criminal is astonishing to me.

You can go to jail for cheating an innkeeper, but its business as usual when you're caught trying to cheat voters by abusing our electoral process.

In case your memory is foggy, here’s what happened.

Representative Roy Schmidt, a long-time Grand Rapids Democrat, decided he wanted instead to be a Republican.

So he huddled with House Speaker Jase Bolger and came up with a plan. Schmidt would wait until the last minute before the election, then take voters by surprise by filing as a Republican.

By pushing it to the brink it would leave his old party  without sufficient time to field a viable candidate.

But Schmidt and Bolger didn’t leave that to chance either; they recruited a kid—a friend of Schmidt’s son; someone who didn’t even live in the district; someone who has no political ambition—to file perjure himself as the Democratic challenger.

They offered him $1,000 to stay in the race.

But in the glare of media scrutiny, the young sacrificial lamb dropped like rock.

And because no money had actually changed hands—and only because of that—no law was violated.

“Intent,” apparently, only applies to other crimes.

In an incredible collapse, Schmidt went on to lose in the August primary to write-in Democrat Winnie Brinks.

Kent County’s Republican prosecutor William Forsythe said he could find no law that had been broken—but called the Bolger-Schmidt effort to rig an election a “travesty,” and likened it to rigging a boxing match.

There are laws against that, by the way.

So now a grand jury said the pair broke no law; that neither of them is a criminal.

Schmidt is already musing that he’d like to get back into politics. He says a suggestion by a former aide that there ought to be a law to prevent what he did from happening again is a “bunch of crap.”

Bolger has apologized;  but says he’d do it again. Without, the next time, the focus on the phony candidate.

He compared what he and Schmidt did to a football coach running a trick play.

Bolger is in his third term in the house and can’t run again. But the smart money says he’ll make a run for the state senate.

Just two guys who tried to rig an election. Two guys who violated the public trust. Two guys who abused the electoral process. They don’t get it.

Neither one deserves to hold elective office. One can only hope voters remember when the time comes to send them that very message.

In this corner...I’m Tom Van Howe.

Business News

Last Update on July 06, 2015 07:34 GMT

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WASHINGTON (AP) --There are no government economic reports scheduled for release today but the Institute for Supply Management will put out its June service sector index.

Tomorrow, the Commerce Department will report international trade data for May and the Labor Department will release its job openings and labor turnover survey for May.

Also on Tuesday, the Federal Reserve will release consumer credit data for May.

GREECE-BAILOUT

ATHENS (AP) -- Greece's finance minister has resigned following Sunday's referendum in which the majority of voters said "no" to more austerity measures in exchange for another financial bailout.

Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis says he was told shortly after the Greek referendum result that the some eurozone finance ministers and Greece's other creditors would prefer he not attend the ministers' meetings.

Varoufakis has visibly annoyed many of the eurozone's finance ministers during Greece's debt negotiations.

CHINESE STOCK MARKET RESCUE

NEW YORK (AP) -- China has reportedly decided to bar new public offerings of stock and will create a fund to stabilize its stock market, which has been roiled by a wave of selloffs..

Twenty one Chinese securities companies, in a statement released Saturday, said they would pledge no less than 120 billion yuan ($19.33 billion) to invest in Chinese stocks. The securities companies also said they would continue to invest in the market as long the Shanghai Composite index remains below 4,500. It closed at 3,686 on Friday.

Chinese regulators have also decided to suspend new Chinese initial public offerings, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Chinese market has been in free-fall for three weeks, losing 28 percent of its value. Despite the plunge, the market is up 79 percent in the last year.

GERMANY-ECONOMY

BERLIN (AP) -- German factory orders dipped in May as orders from other countries in the eurozone slipped back following a large gain the previous month.

The Economy Ministry says orders in Europe's biggest economy were down 0.2 percent compared with the previous month. In April, orders rose 2.2 percent -- a figure that was revised up sharply from the initial reading of 1.4 percent because of late reporting.

The ministry says bulk orders were below average in May. The overall fall was led by a 1.5 percent drop in orders from other countries in the 19-nation eurozone, which had surged 7 percent in April.

Demand from inside Germany was off 0.6 percent while orders from outside the eurozone climbed 1.2 percent.

STELLA & CHEWY'S-RECALL

Pet food maker Stella & Chewy's recalls some products

NEW YORK (AP) -- Pet food maker Stella & Chewy's is recalling some of its products because a routine test found Listeria in a sample of its chicken freeze-dried dinner patties for dogs.

Listeria can cause serious illness and even death in children, the frail and the elderly. Healthy people may suffer flu-like symptoms, such as high fever, headache, nausea and diarrhea.

The Milwaukee-based company said there have been no reported pet or human illnesses.

A complete list of recalled products can be found at: http://www.stellaandchewys.com/stella-chewys-recall-notice/

Consumers can look at the lot numbers and UPC codes on their pet food to determine if their pet food is part of the recall. If they do have pet food that is part of the recall they can return it to the place of purchase for a full refund or should dispose of it.

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No more `roar' as famed trading pits come to an end

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But faster, cheaper and not nearly as noisy computers have taken over.

BOX OFFICE

NEW YORK (AP) -- "Magic Mike XXL" and "Terminator Genisys" both fizzled over the July 4th weekend, leaving the popular holdovers "Jurassic World" and "Inside Out" to top the holiday box office.

Despite the release of the anticipated sequels, the rule of "Jurassic World" continued with an estimated $30.9 million in its fourth week of release. Pixar's "Inside Out," though, virtually tied it with $30.1 million in its third week. Final figures will be released Monday.

"Terminator Genisys," the fifth entry in the sci-fi series, opened in third with $28.7 million over the weekend and $44.2 million since opening Wednesday.

The male-stripper sequel "Magic Mike XXL," starring Channing Tatum, came in fourth with just $12 million on the weekend. Over five days of release, it made $27.1 million.

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