Michigan GOP co-chair Ron Weiser on Friday agreed to pay a $200,000 fine to resolve a campaign finance complaint.
That complaint alleges Weiser in 2018 secretly lured a candidate to exit the Republican primary for Michigan Secretary of State (SOS) via a six-figure payment.
An agreement released Friday says the SOS found “there may be reason to believe” the $200,000 in payments violated campaign finance law as it might have influenced the race for secretary of state. Weiser didn’t report the money transfer.
In February, former Michigan Republican Party Chairwoman Laura Cox filed a campaign finance complaint alleging improper payments from the state party to Shelby Township Clerk Stan Grot so he would drop out of the race for secretary of state.
Cox described Weiser’s alleged actions as a “sleazy payoff” to clear the way for Weiser’s preferred SOS candidate Mary Trader Lang, who was defeated by Democratic Jocelyn Benson in November 2018.
“I decided to personally contribute the conciliation amount to the party to close this unfortunate chapter, and continue our focus where it needs to be — the 2022 election,” Weiser said in a statement.
Weiser added he’s “glad to put an end to the sad and reckless actions by Laura Cox that needlessly thrust the Michigan Republican Party into a politicized investigation designed to hurt Republicans in 2022 and thwart election reform efforts.”
Cox tweeted a response:
“Chairman Weiser & [Michigan Republican Party] can spin the truth (in a holiday weekend news dump) all they want, but it doesn’t erase what they did,” she wrote, adding: “It was wrong for MRP to be involved in the SOS race, let alone any race,” and concluding: “MRP cheated delegates/voters & it’s [sic] principles in doing so. Attacking my decision to do the right thing also won’t paper over the fact that this was one of the largest fines paid in MI’s history.”
Weiser denied any wrongdoing.
Aneta Kiersnowski, Benson’s press secretary, said that’s “commonplace” in conciliation agreements.
“The Bureau of Elections determined there was reason to believe the Michigan Republican Party violated the campaign finance act, and proceeded to seek a conciliation agreement as required by law,” Kiersnowski told The Center Square in an email. “In conciliation agreements it is commonplace for the subject of the investigation to claim that there was no wrongdoing. In this case, the Republican Party agreed to pay a fine equal to the amount of money involved in the violation to resolve the complaint.”
This article was originally posted on Ron Weiser to pay $200,000 fine to resolve Michigan GOP complaint