Detroit Regional Chamber PAC reconsiders support for politicians who pushed election lies

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s political fundraising committee is reconsidering its support for Michigan politicians who propagated false information about the 2020 election.

Powerful business organizations are revaluating their relationship to Republicans after a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 to prevent electors from certifying President Joe Biden’s victory. The Detroit Regional Chamber PAC joins companies like Ford, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Rocket Companies Inc., Consumers Energy and Dow Inc. that are reviewing their contributions to candidates, while other businesses cut ties with members of Congress who voted to reject the certification of the Electoral College votes.

In a Thursday press release, the Detroit Regional Chamber PAC said Fortune 500 firms based in Michigan are dismayed by the Capitol riots, which left five people dead and caused Congress to evacuate the building. The PAC expressed concern that elected leaders enabled the “act of sedition” by spreading “the falsehood that the 2020 election was not valid or somehow stolen.”

“The Chamber respects leaders with different policy approaches, but expects all leaders not to traffic in falsehoods, to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, to respect the will of Michigan voters, to uphold enduring American fundamental values, and to support federalism; including the right of states to conduct and certify their elections,” the release states. “Therefore, while the Chamber remains committed to its long tradition of bipartisan political endorsements, going forward in our process, we will weigh heavily any candidate’s past or future actions that do not align with these principles.”

The Detroit Chamber PAC declined to comment about specific politicians who were involved in spreading disinformation about the election. Michigan was at the center of a wide range of unproven claims about voter fraud and the subject of several failed lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign and allies.

The Capitol riot, which has come to be described as an attempted insurrection or domestic terror attack, spun out of a massive protest against the certification of Biden’s victory. Former President Donald Trump and Republican activists promoted the Jan. 6 “stop the steal” rally for weeks.

Some companies have cut ties with politicians who helped promote the rally. Others decided to end support for members of Congress who voted against the lawful certification of state electoral college votes.

Three Michigan Republicans — U.S. Reps. Jack Bergman, R-Watersmeet; Tim Walberg, R-Tipton; and Lisa McClain, R-Bruce Township — voted to reject the electoral votes of Arizona and Pennsylvania. The Detroit Chamber PAC endorsed all three candidates before the November 2020 election.

Bergman and Walberg issued a joint statement on Jan. 4 announcing their decision to object to the Electoral College certification process.

“Poll challengers have raised valid concerns about election integrity across our Nation that brings into question the results of the 2020 election and puts faith in future elections in jeopardy,” they said. “While the easy answer is ignoring election irregularities – we will not stand idly by without taking every lawfully available option to ensure the outcomes of our elections can be trusted.”

McClain said constituents voiced concerns about “deep flaws” in the voting process but did not provide specific details.

The PAC donated $500 to McClain’s campaign after giving $2,500 to her Republican primary opponent Doug Slocum. U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, was the only other Republican to receive a donation from the PAC.

Upton, the first House Republican from Michigan to acknowledge Biden as president-elect, received a $1,000 donation. Upton said there was no evidence of widespread fraud in Michigan and voted to impeach Trump for inciting an insurrection.

A majority of House Republicans supported a Texas lawsuit that sought to invalidate election results in swing states Biden won. The Supreme Court threw out the lawsuit.

Bergman and Walberg filed a friend of the court brief supporting the attempt to void election results in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Wisconsin. The Texas lawsuit was also supported by U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, and John Moolenaar, R-Midland.

The Detroit Chamber PAC endorsed all four members of Congress.

The Texas lawsuit claimed Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson lacked authority to distribute absentee ballot applications. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said the lawsuit was “without factual foundation and without a valid legal basis.”

Bergman said Benson “created a crisis of confidence in Michigan.”

In a video explaining his decision posted on Facebook, Huizenga said he had questions about how the election was run, “everything from the equipment to the process.” Huizenga later said he hadn’t seen evidence of election fraud in Michigan, but still believed Benson broke the law.

Twelve Michigan state representatives signed a motion asking the Supreme Court to prevent Biden from receiving the state’s 16 electoral votes until the Legislature conducts a “post-election certification.” Two of the representatives — state Reps. Doug Wozniak, R-Shelby Township, and Jack O’Malley, R-Lake Ann — received the chamber’s endorsement.

Eleven Michigan state representatives, including Wozniak, signed a letter asking former Vice President Mike Pence to decertify the Nov. 3 election results. The letter also detailed unproven allegations of election fraud.

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