Advance Notice: Briefs

State GOP chair settles payoff complaint for $200K

By: - July 6, 2021 2:59 pm

The Michigan Republican Party headquarters in Lansing that Karamo is not using | Susan J. Demas

Michigan Republican Party Chair Ron Weiser has agreed to pay $200,000 to resolve a complaint alleging the state party paid a candidate to drop out of the 2018 secretary of state race. 

Ron Weiser | University of Michigan photo

The Michigan Secretary of State’s office has been investigating a February complaint filed by Laura Cox, the immediate past GOP chair, about alleged improper payments from the state party to Stan Grot.

Weiser, a multimillionaire who also is a University of Michigan regent and major donor, allegedly directed the state GOP party to pay Grot $200,000 to drop out of the Michigan secretary of state primary in order to clear the field for Mary Trader Lang, the eventual nominee who lost to current Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat. 

Cox, in a tweet on Saturday, blasted Weiser and the party. 

“Chairman Weiser & (the Michigan GOP) can spin the truth (in a holiday weekend news dump) all they want, but it doesn’t erase what they did. It was wrong for (the GOP) to be involved in the SOS race, let alone any race. MRP cheated delegates/voters & it’s principles in doing so.”

Similarly, the Michigan Democratic Party called the Weiser settlement a “sleazy payoff.”

“That someone was punished for exposing Ron Weiser’s corrupt kingmaker behavior shows just how ethically bankrupt the MIGOP has become. Weiser was caught paying out $200,000 of party funds to buy a statewide seat for his preferred candidate, and now has to pay another $200,000 to cover it up. We can only imagine the sleazy stunts he’ll pull this cycle,” said Rodericka Applewhaite, an MDP spokeswoman.

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Weiser has been at the center of several recent controversies. He was censured by the U of M Board of Regents and stripped of his committees earlier this year for comments he made about both Democratic and GOP officials.

At a March North Oakland Republican Club meeting, he referred to the three top three female Democratic leaders in the state, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, as “witches” that Republicans need to defeat in 2022 by “burning at the stake.”  

Weiser also slammed U.S. Reps. Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids) and Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph), who both voted to impeach former President Donald Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection, saying that “other than assassination, I have no other way … other than voting [them] out.”

He apologized for his remarks about the Republicans.

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Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman writes about Southeast Michigan, history and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on Black life in Detroit.