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BREAKING NEWS

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 28, 2014 07:37 GMT

ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims, 8:30 a.m.

WASHINGTON -- Commerce Department releases second-quarter gross domestic product, 8:30 a.m.

WASHINGTON -- Freddie Mac, the mortgage company, releases weekly mortgage rates, 10 a.m.

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. releases U.S. bank earnings for the second quarter, 10 a.m.

WASHINGTON -- National Association of Realtors releases pending home sales index for July, 10 a.m.

AMERICANS' ECONOMIC SURVEY

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Despite many signs of a business recovery including improved hiring, Americans are more worried about the economy than they were right after the Great Recession.

A survey released by researchers at Rutgers University says that this pessimism exists despite record Wall Street gains and a host of upbeat economic indicators.

Seventy-one percent of Americans surveyed say the recession put a permanent drag on the economy. In contrast, Rutgers researchers found in a similar survey in November 2009 that only 49 percent thought the downturn would have lasting damage. That earlier 2009 survey was conducted five months after the recession officially ended.

And when the 2009 survey was undertaken, national joblessness was at 9.9 percent of the labor force, compared to the current 6.2 percent.

The survey says people's confidence in the economy has been eroded by the slow pace of improvement during the

SUPERMARKET FEUD

TEWKSBURY, Mass. (AP) -- A New England supermarket chain that has been in turmoil for weeks over a workers' revolt and customer boycott has announced that the former CEO will buy a majority stake in the business.

In a statement issued late Wednesday, Market Basket said popular CEO Arthur T. Demoulas (deh-MOO'-lahs) would be returning and taking over day-to-day operations. He was ousted in June by a board of directors controlled by his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas. Hundreds of warehouse workers and drivers refused to deliver food to the chain's stores, leading to empty shelves and millions in lost revenue.

Market Basket, known for its low prices, has 71 stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.

JPMORGAN-HACKING

NEW YORK (AP) -- The FBI is investigating a hacking attack on JPMorgan Chase and at least one other bank. That's according to reports citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter.

A report on Bloomberg.com says the FBI is investigating an incident in which Russian hackers attacked the U.S financial system earlier this month in possible retaliation against U.S. government-sponsored sanctions aimed at Russia.

The attack, Bloomberg says, led to the loss of sensitive data. Bloomberg cites security experts saying that the attack appeared "far beyond the capability of ordinary criminal hackers."

The New York Times, also citing people familiar with the matter, says JP Morgan and at least four other firms were hit this month by what it describes as coordinated attacks that siphoned off huge amounts of data, including checking and savings account information.

The Wall Street Journal also cites unnamed sources in a less detailed report that calls the attacks a "significant breach of corporate computer security."

PORT LABOR

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Negotiators hoping to reach a new contract that would keep hundreds of billions of dollars of cargo moving smoothly through West Coast seaports are making significant progress with a tentative deal on health care benefits.

The knotty issue had tied up the talks for months. Specific details weren't released.

The union representing dockworkers insisted benefits be maintained, while the Pacific Maritime Association said the current plan was so generous it had become the target for tens of millions of dollars in fraudulent charges.

The association had focused on limiting fraud while dockworkers complained that emphasis had blocked the payment of legitimate claims.

An overall contract deal still hinges on unresolved issues including job security and workplace safety.

The contract covers workers at 29 ports which are key trade links to Asia.

TYSON FOODS-HILLSHIRE-JUSTICE DEPARTMENT

NEW YORK (AP) -- Tyson Foods will sell its sow purchasing business, Heinold Hog Markets, in order to get regulatory clearance for its $7.75 billion purchase of Hillshire Brands.

The U.S. Department of Justice said Wednesday that Tyson Foods must sell the business in order to preserve competition for farmers who sell sows, or female pigs. The agency said Tyson and Hillshire combine to make more than a third of the sow purchases in the U.S.

Tyson Foods Inc. and Hillshire Brands Co. said they agreed with the department's proposal.

The department says Heinold buys sows from farmers and sells them to sausage makers. It had $270 million in revenue in 2013. That's less than 1 percent of Tyson's total revenue. Hillshire makes the pigs into Jimmy Dean and Hillshire Farm brand foods

Tyson agreed to buy Hillshire in June for $63 per share.

SEC CRISIS RULES

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal regulators have voted to require financial firms that sell securities backed by loans, like the kind that fueled the 2008 financial crisis, to give investors details on borrowers' credit records and income.

The Securities and Exchange Commission adopted the rules on a 5-0 vote Wednesday and the regulations cover securities linked to mortgages and auto loans.

The commissioners also imposed new conflict-of-interest rules on the agencies that rate the debt of companies, governments and issues of securities. That vote split 3-2 along party lines, with the two Republican commissioners opposing adoption of the rules.

Home mortgages bundled into securities and sold on Wall Street soured after the housing bubble burst in 2007, losing billions in value. The vast sales of risky securities ignited the crisis that plunged the economy into the deepest recession since the Great Depression and brought a taxpayer bailout of banks.

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