Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is taking advantage of a recall petition filed against her this week to raise funds.
The governor was able to raise $8.65 million with $10.7 million cash on hand in a 2020 effort to fight a recall petition that was later determined not to exist. More than $3.4 million was collected at the time from 119 large donors from the Democratic Party, including attorney Mark Bernstein, brother of Michigan Supreme Justice Richard Bernstein, and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
Individual campaign donations are limited to $7,150, according to Michigan Campaign Finance law. If the governor is facing an active recall campaign, however, an exemption is allowed for unlimited contributions.
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson ruled in January 2021 that Whitmer was not required by law to return the money, but said instead that the monies could be “disgorged” to other candidates’ campaign war chests.
The recent recall petition was filed Jan. 2 by Chad E. Baase, 43. Although local press say Baase is an Albion resident, his Facebook profile page shows he lives in Tijuana, Baja, Mexico. Press reports describe Baase as a “serial petitioner” who has filed previous unsuccessful petitions to recall Whitmer, Benson, Attorney General Dana Nessel, and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist. There’s no evidence he ever collected or submitted signatures.
In his latest petition, Baase alleges Whitmer has “Budgeted funding for Law Enforcement throughout Michigan that enforce Michigan Statutes that have similarities to Slave Licensing, Black Codes, and Jim Crow Laws without adequate safeguards to prevent from discrimination against low income individuals and communities echoing the behavior of slave traders against those of color.”
According to Michigan Advance, Baase also alleges in his petition “Whitmer has had direction over the Michigan Department of Agriculture ‘which Licenses Immigrant Labor Camps but denies many of the immigrants a Drivers License which can entrap foreigners.'”
Although there’s little chance Baase’s petition will be certified, the governor’s political action committee sent out a text message using the petition as a pretext for raising money with the barling headline, “MAGA REPUBLICANS JUST FILED A RECALL PETITION AGAINST ME”:
Hi Friend – it’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer here. BREAKING NEWS: A MAGA Republican just filed a recall petition against me.
MAGA Republicans have been trying to defeat us for years and we just heard the breaking news that a recall petition has been filed against me. This is another attempt at removing me from office to reverse all the incredible progress we’ve made. But let me tell you: I’m not going anywhere and our progress is unstoppable.
And let’s be clear. This petition won’t deter us. Can you chip in a few $ to help us fight like hell?
Baase has had several brushes with the law, including incarceration for intoxicated driving in 2018. He also served 30 months in jail for threatening in 2013 to kill 10,000 people by poisoning the water supply in Calhoun County.