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 August 20, 2014 17:13 GMT

APPLE-STOCK

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Apple's stock touched a new high Wednesday, reflecting investors' renewed faith in CEO Tim Cook's ability to outwit the competition and expand the technological hit factory built by the late Steve Jobs.

The milestone represents a dramatic turnaround in sentiment since Apple's shares reached its previous split-adjusted peak of $100.72 in September 2012. The shares peaked at $100.77 Wednesday morning, giving it a market value of roughly $600 billion -- more than any other publicly held company.

Apple's stock fell to a split-adjusted $55.01 in April 2013 to wipe out about $300 billion in shareholder wealth amid worries that the Cupertino, California, company had run out of ideas without Jobs as its mastermind.

Those concerns have faded amid high hopes for an iPhone with a bigger screen.

EARNS-TARGET

NEW YORK (AP) -- Target has slashed its annual profit outlook as the retailer continues to reel from a massive data breach, a disappointing expansion in Canada and sluggish sales in the U.S.

The nation's third-largest retailer also said Wednesday that its second-quarter earnings dropped 61.7 percent.

The Minneapolis-based company says it earned $234 million, or 37 cents per share, in the quarter that ended Aug. 2, compared with earnings of $611 million, or 95 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 1.7 percent to $17.4 billion, slightly above the $17.38 billion estimate from FactSet.

Excluding expenses related to the breach, the company earned 78 cents per share, which was in line with Target's reduced estimate issued earlier in the month.

Analysts had expected 79 cents per share, according to FactSet.

EARNS-LOWE'S

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- Lowe's second-quarter net income increased 10 percent, bolstered by improving weather.

The home improvement company's performance beat analysts' expectations, but the Mooresville, North Carolina, company lowered its full-year revenue outlook slightly, citing its year-to-date sales and prior assumptions for the second half.

Lowe's Cos. earned $1.04 billion, or $1.04 per share, for the three months ended Aug. 1. A year earlier it earned $941 million, or 88 cents per share.

Analysts expected $1.02 per share.

Revenue rose 6 percent to $16.6 billion from $15.71 billion, topping Wall Street's $16.57 billion forecast.

Sales at stores open at least a year, a key indicator of a retailer's health, climbed 4.4 percent.

Lowe's now anticipates full-year revenue rising about 4.5 percent. Its prior outlook was for an approximately 5 percent increase.

BARNES & NOBLE-SAMSUNG

B&N and Samsung introduce co-branded tablet

NEW YORK (AP) -- Barnes & Noble and Samsung on Wednesday unveiled a new co-branded tablet called the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook that will replace B&N's own Nook tablets.

The 7-inch tablet will sell for $179 after a $20 instant rebate, the same entry price of the non-branded Samsung Galaxy Tab 4.

The move had been expected, since Barnes & Noble said in June it would team up with Samsung to develop Nook tablets that would be available in August.

For the first time, the Nook will have a front- and rear-facing camera. It comes with more than $200 in content from the Nook Store, including books, TV shows and magazines. However, apps are limited to Nook apps rather than the full suite of Android apps available on Google Play.

BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY-SETTLEMENT

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- Warren Buffett's company has agreed to an $896,000 penalty for failing to tell regulators about a December 2013 investment in wallboard maker USG Corp.

The Federal Trade Commission said Wednesday that Berkshire Hathaway Inc. should have notified the Justice Department before it converted $325 million of senior USG notes it held into 21.4 million shares of the company.

Because Berkshire was already a significant USG shareholder, antitrust laws required it to notify regulators because of the size of the deal.

Regulators say Berkshire made a similar mistake six months earlier when it acquired securities in Symetra Financial Corp.

Berkshire officials did not immediately respond to questions about the settlement Wednesday.

Besides investments, Berkshire owns more than 80 subsidiaries in a variety of industries, including insurance, utilities, railroads, retail and manufacturing.

CUTLERY MAKER-BANKRUPTCY

BUCKLAND, Mass. (AP) -- The nation's oldest cutlery manufacturer has filed for bankruptcy after 177 years of making knives and other kitchen tools.

The Recorder of Greenfield reports that Lamson & Goodnow Manufacturing Co. of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this month, which protects the company from creditors as it reorganizes.

The business has also put its 18-acre factory complex up for sale.

According to federal bankruptcy court in Springfield, the company filed for bankruptcy protection as a result of two multimillion dollar loans it could not repay. The company owes $1 million on a U.S. Small Business Administration loan and more than $2 million to the small business corporation in New York.

Founded in 1837, the company has been owned by James Ross Anderson since 1998.

HOUSE GOP-BUSINESS GROUP

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is stepping in to help an establishment-preferred Republican in a bruising three-way Arizona primary in one of the most competitive House districts in the country.

The powerful business group is putting hundreds of thousands of dollars behind a television ad for state House Speaker Andy Tobin, who has struggled to raise money. His two rivals -- businessman and rancher Gary Kiehne and state lawmaker Adam Kwasman -- are already on the air with TV ads.

The primary is Tuesday but early voting began July 31.

The Chamber ad, which begins airing on Thursday, focuses on Tobin, calling him a "rock solid conservative," and the Democratic incumbent, Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick.

The commercial makes no mention of the two other Republican candidates.

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