Panel chucks Whitmer, Nessel recall petitions 

By: - May 22, 2020 4:56 pm

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel | Andrew Roth

Two petitions to recall Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel were unanimously rejected by the state Board of State Canvassers on Friday. 

Legal representation for the two Democrats asserted that the petitions held false statements, inaccurate paraphrases and spelling errors and were, overall, not eligible for approval by the board.

Chad Baase, an Albion resident who submitted the petitions, testified that the petitions were clear and concise. The bipartisan board did not agree, with members discussing the several areas of confusion.

Baase has had trouble with the law before. According to the Battle Creek Enquirer, in 2013, after a child custody dispute with his ex-wife, Baase told the Calhoun County Commissioner that he would kill 10,000 people by poisoning the water. A county judge sentenced him to 30 months to 20 years in prison for threat of terrorism. He served 30 months and was released.

The petition to recall Whitmer cited several articles for information about Whitmer’s executive orders during the COVID-19 pandemic and paraphrased the orders, which the board found to be inaccurate representation of them.

Baase said he cited news articles because he said the majority of Michiganders don’t know how to look up the executive orders; “they just know that their liberties have been stripped from them and they’ve been forced by her executive orders to not have public gatherings.”

However, Chris Trebilcock of Clark Hill law firm, who represented Whitmer, said Bosse’s attempts to seek support for the statements in his petition by using newspaper hyperlinks shows a “lack of clarity” and must be rejected by the board.

Board member Norm Shinkle, a Republican, said the paraphrases Bosse used for the executive orders “doesn’t meet the definition of factual.” The petition said Whitmer has banned public and private gatherings, when, in reality, not all gatherings are prohibited.

“It’s not in sentences and there’s misspellings, there’s many, many reasons why I would vote no on this language,” Shinkle said. “We have to be factual and that’s black and white.”

The petition was unanimously rejected by the board for “lacking specificity and paraphrasing as opposed to presenting statements of fact.”

The petition to recall Nessel pertains to her office’s role in the prosecution of parties involved in the Flint water crisis.

Steve Liedel, an attorney from the Dykema law firm representing the AG, testified that the petition applies actions not taken by Nessel to her office and cited additional inaccuracies. The petition said Nessel has not sent any party involved in the Flint water crisis to prison. Liedel said that sentencing is up to the Judicial branch, namely a judge.

Democratic Board Member Julie Matuzak called on the panel to reject the petition on the grounds it does not factually address reasons to recall the attorney general. The vote to reject was unanimous.

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Anna Liz Nichols
Anna Liz Nichols

Anna Liz Nichols covers government and statewide issues, including criminal justice, environmental issues, education and domestic and sexual violence. Anna is a former state government reporter for The Associated Press and most recently was a reporter for the Detroit News. Anna is a graduate of Michigan State University.