The Republican Party in Michigan filed a complaint Friday against the state’s Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, claiming the governor violated campaign finance regulations in her travel to Florida since it was for reasons unrelated to formally defined campaign activity.
In the letter, which was first obtained by the Daily Caller, the GOP calls on Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to launch an investigation into Whitmer’s widely reported Palm Beach, Florida plane trip. The Democrat flew to Florida to visit her elderly father in March and borrowed a private jet from Detroit businessmen to do so. At the time, she had the state in strict lockdowns that included injunctions against travel.
Rocky Raczkowski, a Republican who served two terms in the Michigan House and is the leader of the largest GOP county party in the state, told The Federalist, “The sad part about this governor is that she lacks the character of what we need in a leader.”
“I’m disappointed because a simple ethics review would say, if it looks or smells or acts incorrectly, you stay away from it—especially when you’re the governor,” Raczkowski said. “You have to have trust in your leadership. You may not always like the policy decisions. But you have to have trust. This governor is one of the most hypocritical individuals in the entire United States.”
Soon after contradicting her instructions for residents to stay home, Whitmer went on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press” on April 19 and told people to “stay home.” The state’s GOP filed the complaint to the Bureau of Elections.
“This Complaint outlines numerous violations of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act … arising from Governor Whitmer’s secret four day luxury jet trip to West Palm Beach, Florida between March 12 and March 15, 2021,” the complaint states. “Specifically, the facts indicate that the Governor used a private Gulfstream jet, provided by a corporation (PVS Chemicals), for a personal trip to visit her father.”
“Whitmer team’s most recent position is that the luxury jet costs will either be paid for by the corporation or Gretchen Whitmer for Governor …Regardless of which entity pays for the trip, a clear violation of the [finance law] has occurred that should immediately be investigated and penalized to deter future continued illegal activity by Respondents,” the complaint continued. “There is no other individual or organization who should have paid for the Governor’s luxury personal travel to Florida except for Governor Whitmer herself.”
The governor’s hypocrisy has been on full display. In January, Whitmer traveled to Washington D.C. for the inauguration of President Joe Biden on the heels of herrecently announced “gatherings and face mask order.” Likewise, she also violated her own COVID restrictions in May when she was caught at a restaurant with more than a dozen others without masks.
Other groups have taken action against the governor, such as Michigan Rising Action, which filed an Internal Revenue Service complaint in May claiming she unfairly benefited from the trip.
Michigan Transition 2019 paid for the flight. That’s a nonprofit that previously launched to pay for Whitmer’s inauguration fees. According to Michigan Rising Action, an IRS statute that states an organization “must be operated exclusively to promote social welfare” and “may not inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual” does not line up with the Whitmer trip.
State Rep. Matt Maddock told The Federalist that he believes Whitmer will be ousted from leadership. “The tighter she squeezes us, her support diminishes like sand in an hourglass,” Maddock said. “One-term-Whitmer’s days are numbered.”
Matt Seely of the Michigan Conservative Coalition told The Federalist “she’s unelectable.”
“She’s wildly unpopular and her polling numbers show she’s completely mismanaged the handling of COVID,” said Seely. “She hasn’t been transparent with a lot of things with voters. People are really fed up and they’re tired of her policies, and the lack of accountability—and the only way to really make her accountable is to elect someone else.”
Whitmer’s office did not respond to The Federalist’s request for comment.