ICYMI: Extreme Betsy DeVos Network Seeking to Undermine Redistricting Commission

LANSING — Yesterday, investigative media outlet, The Intercept, published a scathing report detailing how extreme rightwing special interests, all with ties to the DeVos network are trying to undermine the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC).

Intercept reporter Akela Lacy writes in part:

…Fair Maps launched this year with the stated goals to “participate in every aspect of Michigan’s redistricting process”; to achieve “fair and independent redistricting”; to represent “the interests of everyday voters at commission meetings”; and to “educate and equip the general public.” The group is run by Tony Daunt, a Republican operative, former state party staffer, lobbyist, and conservative activist who has filed several unsuccessful election-related lawsuits against Michigan’s secretary of state, including an attempt to block the redistricting commission.

…he became the executive director of the Michigan Freedom Fund — the conservative, Devos-funded group that organized protests against Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s pandemic stay-at-home orders. He ran the Michigan Freedom Fund until May 2021, when he left and joined Fair Maps.

…Fair Maps has led the efforts to undermine the MICRC, with Daunt telling a local news organization last month that his group had not ruled out suing the commission for missing a September 17 deadline to release the draft maps. (The U.S. Census Bureau published its redistricting census data in August, four months later than usual.) On September 28, Fair Maps published a statement attacking the MICRC and claiming that the body “made a mockery of the promise of transparency voters were guaranteed in 2018.” The group’s Twitter account was suspended as of September 21.

MDP Chair Lavora Barnes issued the following statement in reaction to the revelations outlined in The Intercept article:

“Michiganders have made it overwhelmingly clear that they want fair maps, while DeVos backed Republicans have made it abundantly clear that they want anything but. It is deeply troubling the length extreme Republicans and the DeVos network will go in an attempt to disrupt and influence an independent process that is good for our Democracy.” 

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