Read previously undisclosed Republican emails on Michigan gerrymandering

Republican National Committee 2010 state redistricting strategy outlined in a document shared among Michigan GOP operatives as the controversial 2011 Michigan redistricting process was beginning to accelerate. Attorneys for the Michigan League of Women Voters intend to introduce the document in the pending federal gerrymandering trial in Detroit as an example of "discriminatory intent" in 2011 redistricting of Michigan's congressional and state legislative districts. 

A June 2011 email exchange discussing Michigan House of Representatives’ approval of new Congressional maps. The exchange is between Republican mapmaker Jeff Timmer and House legislative aides. In response to news that GOP state representative Tom McMillin voted against the maps, Timmer wrote, “McMillan should be slapped.” Attorneys for the Michigan League of Women Voters intend to introduce the document in the pending federal gerrymandering trial in Detroit as an example of “discriminatory intent” in 2011 redistricting of Michigan’s congressional and state legislative districts. The document was filed in federal court in Detroit last weekend.

The first email above has been public for months. From then-Michigan Chamber of Commerce vice president and redistricting guru Robert LaBrant offering that then-Michigan GOP Congressman Dave Camp would get "whatever he wants" in the redistricting process as part of GOP redistricting strategists' plan to assure a 9-5 GOP congressional delegation "in 2012 and beyond." Previously undisclosed is the second email a couple hours earlier from Camp aide Jim Brandell indicating Congressman Camp found a latest redistricting map "a complete nonstarter." Brandell wrote, "I had to walk him back from a cliff to be honest... He just hated it.... He doesn't want to lose a Republican county like Grand Traverse, then get stuck with a partial Clinton County." Attorneys for the Michigan League of Women Voters intend to introduce the document in the pending federal gerrymandering trial in Detroit as an example of "discriminatory intent" in 2011 redistricting of Michigan's congressional and state legislative districts. The document was filed in federal court in Detroit last weekend.

A May 2011 email from Jamie Roe, then an aide to Michigan GOP Congresswoman Candace Miller, indicating a desire to keep three strategic industries in a specific district. Attorneys for the Michigan League of Women Voters intend to introduce the document in the pending federal gerrymandering trial in Detroit as an example of "discriminatory intent" in 2011 redistricting of Michigan's congressional and state legislative districts. The document was filed in federal court in Detroit last weekend.

A May 2011 email from Michigan Republican mapmaker Jeff Timmer to GOP operatives, including then-Michigan Chamber of Commerce Vice President and redistricting guru Robert LaBrant. Timmer explains that congressional "GOP seats improve." Attorneys for the Michigan League of Women Voters intend to introduce the document in the pending federal gerrymandering trial in Detroit as an example of "discriminatory intent" in 2011 redistricting of Michigan's congressional and state legislative districts. The document was filed in federal court in Detroit last weekend.

A July 2011 email exchange between Michigan GOP operatives about then-Michigan GOP Chairman Bobby Schostak's concerns that the three Grosse Pointe communities were not kept in the same Michigan state house district. Republican redistricting attorney Eric Doster notes, "since this is a written document, we should assume that it may fall into the wrong hands. We do not want to unnecessarily interfere with the inevitable litigation." Attorneys for the Michigan League of Women Voters intend to introduce the document in the pending federal gerrymandering trial in Detroit as an example of "discriminatory intent" in 2011 redistricting of Michigan's congressional and state legislative districts. The document was filed in federal court in Detroit last weekend.

A June 2011 email from Michigan Republican mapmaker Jeff Timmer explaining how a select redrawn district was "a bit less GOP" than in the past but still not "in jeopardy of going south on us." Attorneys for the Michigan League of Women Voters intend to introduce the document in the pending federal gerrymandering trial in Detroit as an example of "discriminatory intent" in 2011 redistricting of Michigan's congressional and state legislative districts. The document was filed in federal court in Detroit last weekend.

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Comments

Dan S.
Tue, 02/05/2019 - 9:31am

The problem with rolling back this sort of gerrymandering is, if found to be illegal, they still get to keep the illegal goodies/bills that they passed during that time. How do the courts possibly fix that? And what punishment for the people that conspired to rob citizens of their votes? I wonder if they could be charged with criminal conspiracy ?

Mark Sloan
Tue, 02/05/2019 - 11:35am

They should be.

Rick
Tue, 02/05/2019 - 11:48am

Yes, it really is a criminal conspiracy yet today it's no longer prosecuted. The 'new norm'...
Kind of like when all the big banks, mortgage companies caused our near depression yet almost no one went to jail or was closed up.
All the crooks Trump put into his cabinet will not be prosecuted either - too many and not enough resources to go after so many people and so many crimes.

Matt
Tue, 02/05/2019 - 2:25pm

Dan and Mark and Rick, please point out where in the MI or US constitution or other laws it says how voting districts must be constructed so we can see what where and how they broke criminal law. (Clearly evidence that Bridge has done a terrible job informing its readers about the MI constitution and laws pertaining to redistricting - you should be embarrassed!)

Matt
Tue, 02/05/2019 - 10:58am

Where in the US or State constitutions does it state the criteria that voting districts must be constructed, other than more or less equal population? Congress later required majority minority districts but that was pretty much it. It has always been that political parties would construct districts to their benefit. Therefore this is just whining about how good they have gotten at doing it and the other party didn't get to! Michigan voters (rightly or wrongly) have now decided to change the process. Any decision rendered by these judges will be just something they pulled out of their

Neil Sikora
Tue, 02/05/2019 - 10:58am

Most people always knew deep down that this sort of stuff was happening, but it is still startling to see it so clearly documented out in the open.