UPDATE: State seeks Schmidt scandal explanation | News
UPDATE AT 10:45 P.M. (WZZM) -- Michigan's Secretary of State is asking for explanations from Grand Rapids State Rep. Roy Schmidt and State House Speaker Jase Bolger, who tried to rig Schmidt's re-election.
Rep. Schmidt filed paper work to switch from the Democrats to the GOP minutes before the May 15 filing deadline for the August primary. At the same time, Schmidt -- with the help of Speaker Bolger (R-Marshall) -- recruited a 22-year-old nutrition store manager and friend of Schmidt's son to run as a Democrat.
On Friday, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson sent letters to the lawmakers asking for their written explanations as the state investigates possible campaign finance violations related to the case.
LANSING, Mich. (Detroit Free Press) - Grand Rapids State Rep. Roy Schmidt has returned 22 political donations totaling $8,795 after his unexpected jump from the Democrats to the Republicans just before the May 15 filing deadline, according to a campaign finance report filed Thursday.
All the donors who got their money back made their donations when Schmidt was still a Democrat.
Schmidt, who is now facing a write-in Republican challenger in addition to a Democratic write-in candidate, reported raising $51,266 in the pre-primary period, bringing his total amount raised for the election cycle to $115,950.
Schmidt, whose district includes Grand Rapids' west side, heads into the Aug. 7 primary with just under $112,000 in cash in the bank, the report said.
Schmidt held a spaghetti dinner fund-raiser in Grand Rapids on May 11 - when he was still a Democrat but already plotting his party switch with Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger - at which he raised $18,890, the report shows.
Schmidt, his son and his nephew, working with Bolger, recruited 22-year-old Matt Mojzak as a fake Democratic candidate who filed papers just before the filing deadline. The idea was that Schmidt would face a patsy opponent and it would be difficult for Democrats to mount a write-in challenge. But the tactic backfired when it was revealed Mojzak hadn't lived in the district for 30 days, as required.
On July 17, Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth released a scathing report in which he called the incident a travesty, an attempt to defraud voters, and an embarrassment to him as a Republican. But he said there would be no charges because no criminal laws were broken.
The controversy has brought calls for the resignation of Bolger, who apologized for his role in the affair. Both Democrats and Republican have also put forward proposed legislation to make such tactics illegal.
Businessman Bing Goei, the Republican write-in challenger, on Thursday reported a campaign balance of $5,786.
Brinks has yet to file her report. The deadline is 5 p.m. today.