A group trying for the second time to recall Michigan Governor Rick Snyder got the language on its petitions approved yesterday. Barring a successful appeal, Michigan Rising can then start gathering signatures. They need about 800,000, and they got about 500,000 last time. As Michigan Rising explains it, you have to get the signatures inside a 90-day window, with a 180-day deadline – Michigan recalls are not easily done.
A second group of activists are challenging Governor Snyder’s emergency manager law, with a petition drive to put it up for a citizens’ repeal. Michigan Forward turned in their signatures at the end of February, and the counting continues at the state Board of Canvassers.
Yesterday their petitions got a formal challenge. A group called Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility told the Board of Canvassers that among other issues, the petitions were printed in a font size that looks to be a couple of points too small. According to the Detroit News, Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility is the project of a Republican consulting firm, the Sterling Corporation. “They’ve gone to all of the time and expense of the petition drive only to blow it with the wrong font size,” Sterling counsel Bob LaBrant told the paper. (Adding: You can find Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility’s state filing papers here (pdf); they formed on March 8.)
In its federal campaign papers (pdf), Michigan Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility lists two people in charge, one of them Sterling partner Jeff Timmer. In his bio with the Sterling Corporation, Timmer notes his appointment to the four-person Board of State Canvassers, which lists him as a member and is both certifying the petitions and weighing the challenge to the petitions. If you look at the Board of State Canvassers minutes (pdf) from last month, you’ll see Timmer joining in the unanimous vote to set the deadline for challenges of those petitions.
UPDATE: Michigan Radio has shaken loose the names of the Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility’s committee members – it’s Sterling counselor LaBrant, a VP for the Michigan Bankers Association and a former CEO of the Michigan Retailers Association. In its state papers, the committee lists itself at the address and phone number posted by the Sterling Corporation on its website. Timmer described himself as an “owner” of Sterling in his 2010 federal filing.