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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Op/Ed- Part 4 of ROJS News Exclusive investigation into Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder recall campaign

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ROJS Media Exclusive Op/Ed

In the beginning of part 3 of our series of Op/Ed's and podcast programs on this subject, we highlighted our belief 500K signatures never existed in the 2011 attempt to recall Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.

This assumption is based on ROJS News verbal verification of two former volunteers deeply embedded into upper core group with the Committee to Recall Rick Snyder (CRRS).



Are Committee to Recall Gov. Rick Snyder Claim of 500K signatures Stretching True End Numbers? 

We'll detail both Gail Schmidt-former Treasurer with CRRS and Lora Trezil- former CRRS Oakland County Captain accounts, along with calling out Michigan Media resources ignored this important story for thousands of Michiganders, until they found it not convenient to do so.

ROJS News spoke with Ms. Schmidt in January 2012. In our discussion, Ms. Schmidt verbally verified she wrote the information below at DisputeThis.org blog and confirmed its audacity, word for word. Some names have been omitted. The full version of post is available at DisputeThis.org.

"Our petition campaign was rolling toward an August 5, 2011 deadline, thus it was a very busy time in Standish.  Processing and counting petitions and keeping track of financial donations that were rolling in from throughout the country.  I didn’t visit Facebook because I had dial-up at home and was forbidden to use my employer’s computer for this purpose.  Quite frankly, I just didn’t have time even if I could have accessed it.

Supposedly, I was being kept up-to-date by (C.R.R.S). Much later, I learned from Core Committee (member) that grave strategy errors were being made with the campaign.  I do know the numbers weren’t anywhere close to achieving the 806,000 signatures needed for recall, or the target goal of 1.2 million that had been set by our Committee.
 
On August 5, 2011 we had only achieved 220,867 signatures, and yet (C.R.R.S.) published that we were at more than 50% of our 1.2 million goal.  This infuriated me that he would lie to our volunteers and the general public.  When I asked (them) why, (they) said, “I did it because we need more money and Daily Kos won’t help us unless we have respectable numbers.”
After Ms. Schmidt led another signature count verification overview ---after the first 90 days were extended to a separate 90 day campaign-- (note-Michigan Recall Procedures allow for two 90 day separate signature collection periods -for a total of 180 days- in a recall campaign against any elected state official) she found the valid signatures count dropped to only 92,000.
"Since we did not make the August 5th deadline, it was decided to extend the campaign to September 20th and to pull all signatures that were gathered between May 21 and June 19, 2011. It should be explained here that signatures are only valid for a 90-day window period and the petition language approved by the State was only good for 180 days, thus we could choose our own window within the 180-day time frame.   
My volunteers completed the task of pulling all invalid signatures in mid-August which brought us down to 92,000+ valid signatures. At that time our treasury funds were dwindling, but (two CRRS administrators) announced we would be sending postcards to all individuals whose signatures were invalid. 
After finding this out, I contacted (C.R.R.S) to ask where the money would come from, as well as the staff to complete this task. (They) said (they) would work on finding more money and admitted he knew we couldn’t afford this expense. 
Unbeknownst to me at the time, there were a lot of angry volunteers who were quitting over this issue; they were also upset that they didn’t know the signature count and demanded the figures. Their demands were not met so they quit because they felt the Core Committee was dishonest and lying to them all throughout the campaign."
Ms. Schmidt ends her accounting of the total signature counts collected during the entire 180 days, and found the finalized number to be no more than 135,000.
"At the end of August I experienced a severe case of food poisoning and was out of the office for 5 days. My assistant took over my responsibilities and did a great job since she had been helping on a daily basis throughout the summer.   
During this absence, I don’t know who was involved in the decision making, but it was decided to move the processing center to Flint.  On the day they moved the petitions, my volunteers had been in the midst of counting petitions and had only 92,000+ recorded, but I would estimate there were no more than 135,000 at the time.  
The processing center was originally located in Standish, Michigan. This is verifiable by CRRS original PAC filing statement with the Michigan Secretary of State citing its' address as P.O. Box 98 in Standish, Michigan.

During 2011's campaign to recall Gov. Rick Snyder, unknown to signatories, recall petitions were moved four times in total: Standish, Flint, Ypsilanti and finally settling in Dearborn, Michigan. Michigan Rising PAC headquarters is located in Dearborn, according to the PAC filing report.



Former CRRS Oakland County Captain Lora Trezil read her dictation to volunteers on ROJS Radio February 17th. She also verified with ROJS News her written statement on DisputeThis.org.
"The total numbers of signatures collected that are currently valid were tabulated Sept. 18, 2011. This count was to include every single petition that had been received up until that date. The total was 179,417. This number does not include aged out signatures and those that were still in the possession of the volunteers at that time. 
Additionally, it has been brought to our attention and confirmed by other volunteers, that there was never an original count done. The number that was released July 30, 2011 was an estimate, not an actual count. 
In reality there were many, many more than 10,000-13,000 collected in May and June. Best guess estimates, based on the information we have is at least 150,000 signatures were collected in May and June. This number cannot be confirmed as aged out petitions have now been dispersed throughout the State. However, 23,572 signatures from June 25-June 30 ALONE, signatures were counted. 
The committee or the person(s) on the committee has been keeping this information secret for a very long time. We have been asked to string our volunteers along and keep them collecting, despite the lack of information and transparency, based on false information. We trusted in the committee to make the best choices possible and that trust has been violated."
Leave It To The Media Investigative Journalism For the True Story or Should We Say the Blogging Media

On April 2nd, ROJS News contacted MLive reporter Dave Murray by email in regarding the 500K signature claim noted in this article. We have not received any contact from Mr. Murray about our email to date.

Photo Credit-ROJS News

Additionally, ROJS News submitted this Op/Ed for publication consideration to dispute CRRS claimed count to Ann Arbor.com on April 3, 2012, after the online news resourced reprined statements quoted MLive's piece. ROJS News received contact from an employee from Ann Arbor.com about the Op/Ed but, the piece hasn't been published to date.

It should be noted that MLive and Ann Arbor.com are owned by MLive Media Group.

Photo Credit-ROJS News



Huffington Post was contacted by ROJS Media staff in regards to their piece on the alleged 500K signatures connected during CRRS 2011 campaign to recall Gov. Rick Snyder. Our attempts to speak with one member of their staff was unsuccessful.

April 11th MLive Media Group reporter Dave Murray constructed this article titled, "Experts: Ousting Gov. Snyder might not be true goal of recall effort". You think Mr. Murray? Wonder what little birdie could have told you that.



Ironically, the exact same article magically appeared on AnnArbor.com later that evening.

Again, allow us to reference back ROJS Radio Co-Host Autumn Smith article on Steal This Government about our wonderful 4th ad-hoc branch of Government. The paid media.

So unlike others, we'll cite and creditably quote to comments by John Trustcott- former communications director for former Governor John Engler and GOP campaign adviser, along with Bruce Fealk spokesperson for Michigan Rising.

“Let the signer beware,” Truscott said. “Those names get entered into multiple databases and I’m sure they will be shared with multiple Democrat-leaning groups that will fill people’s mail boxes from now until November.” 
Michigan Rising spokesman Bruce Fealk said members “right now are totally focused on recalling Gov. Snyder” and have no other agenda. 
He said members “have not discussedwhether they would share information collected from petitions. 
“I was working on this, meeting with people starting in December and January, and that’s just not a topic that has come up,” he said.
With just a bit more research, paid journalists might have stumbled upon ROJS Radio April 4th, 2012, podcast featured a call from a former Ingham County CRRS volunteer. The caller highlights a July 2011 event in Lansing when law enforcement personnel was contacted after volunteers refused to hand over petition signatures, learning about a strong possibly the information would be used for a database.


ROJS News, two Independent-Left based bloggers Monica RW & Autumn S and many courageous former CRRS volunteers worked together to inform Michiganders about the truth about why 2011 recall campaign against Gov. Rick Snyder failed. Sadly, a number of the administrative leaders of CRRS, are part of the Core Committee Administrators of Michigan Rising taking on a new 2012 campaign against the Governor.

The open question for Michiganders desiring recall Gov. Snyder is should they expect a different result after the information learned via ROJS Media via ROJS News and ROJS Radio? We guess, time will tell.


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