Dems seek House investigation of GOP lawmaker linked to 2020 election probe 

By: - August 31, 2022 12:04 pm

State Rep. Daire Rendon (R-Lake City) at a right-wing rally calling for a so-called “audit” of the 2020 election at the Michigan Capitol, Oct. 12, 2021 | Laina G. Stebbins

Michigan House Democrats on Tuesday released a letter from House Minority Leader Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Twp.) to House Speaker Jason Wentworth (R-Farwell) urging him to authorize an investigation of state Rep. Daire Rendon (R-Lake City). 

Rendon was one of nine individuals, including Republican Attorney General nominee Matt DePerno, who were referred for investigation under an attorney general request for special prosecutor into whether they took part in a conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to, and then tamper with, election equipment and data after the 2020 election that former President Donald Trump lost to President Joe Biden.

House Minority Leader Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Twp.), Nov. 3, 2021, at the Ingham County Courthouse | Laina G. Stebbins

In the letter, Lasinski said that Rendon had used her position as an elected official to convince municipal clerks in her district to hand over election equipment as part of an illegal investigation of voting equipment they were not authorized to access. 

“It is alleged that Rep. Rendon told the Roscommon County Clerk, Michelle Stevenson, that ‘representatives’ were doing an investigation into election fraud and needed her voting machine,” stated Lasinksi. “This constitutes a gross misrepresentation of her activities and the Legislature’s involvement with the illegal investigation Rep. Rendon allegedly aided with these calls to her constituents. Without elaboration or specification of who these ‘representatives’ were, the statement is clearly meant to indicate the investigation was being conducted by members of the Michigan House of Representatives.”

Lasinksi called it “an abuse of the honor of the Legislature” and urged Wentworth to authorize an investigation into the specific actions Rendon made in the effort.

“The allegations against her constitute a serious misuse of her elected office in the facilitation of a crime,” said Lasinksi. “The people deserve to know if their government, other elected officials, or State of Michigan resources were used in this criminal conspiracy.”

After Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office petitioned for a special prosecutor to investigate Rendon, DePerno and the others for their part in the alleged scheme to illegally access voting machines, Wentworth’s office announced that the speaker would “let the legal process play out” and thus Rendon would be allowed to keep her committee assignments, including as chair of the House Insurance Committee.

Democrats, however, say that is no longer a tenable position considering what has been alleged.

“We need an investigation now, no matter how much the Republican majority doesn’t want to draw attention to these alleged crimes,” said state Rep. Brenda Carter (D-Pontiac). “The people deserve to know to what degree and how their government was implicated in this conspiracy, and whether Rep. Rendon’s efforts to illegitimately portray this scheme as proper House of Representatives business implicated state of Michigan resources. To get these answers we must investigate her use of state phone lines, email addresses, public employees and more.”

When asked to comment, Gideon D’Assandro, Communications Director and Press Secretary for Speaker Wentworth, told Michigan Advance that the time was not right for an investigation.

State House Speaker Jason Wentworth (R-Clare) | Ken Coleman photo

“As he has done with other situations, including several investigations into House Democrats this term, the speaker will let the legal process play out and review any new developments as the information comes out,” he said.

However, Lasinksi insisted that no legal reason exists to prevent such an investigation.

“Such an investigation could be conducted entirely within authorities you possess as Speaker of the House, and such an investigation would in no way impede the legal process from playing out nor interfere with any ongoing criminal investigations that may be underway,” she said.

Earlier this month, House Democrats released a resolution to censure Rendon for her actions, saying she had “engaged in a pattern of misconduct that has undermined the public’s confidence in her, in the House, and in Michigan’s electoral process and democratic institutions.” 

In December 2020, Rendon was one of five GOP lawmakers who attempted and failed to enter the state Capitol, along with 16 fake electors, so they could attempt to fraudulently certify Michigan’s electoral votes for former President Donald Trump, who lost to Biden in Michigan by 154,000 votes. 

That was also the same month she joined a lawsuit, Texas v. Pennsylvania, seeking to invalidate Michigan’s elector selection process in order to overturn election results in states including Michigan.

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Jon King
Jon King

Jon King has been a journalist for more than 35 years. He is the Past President of the Michigan Associated Press Media Editors Association and has been recognized for excellence numerous times, most recently in 2021 with the Best Investigative Story by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Cleary University. Jon and his family live in Howell, where he also serves on the Board of Directors for the Livingston Diversity Council.

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