Philip Blumel: Double Trouble in Michigan. Hi, I’m Philip Blumel. Welcome to No Uncertain Terms, the official podcast of the Term Limits Movement for the week of March 7th, 2022.
Stacey Selleck: Your sanctuary from partisan politics.
Philip Blumel: Fueled by greed, the political class of Michigan has launched yet another assault on their state’s popular legislative term limits law. This time, the threat is a deceptive new initiative funded by special interests that would double the amount of time a legislator can spend in Lansing. For more color, let’s turn to US Term Limits Executive Director, Nick Tomboulides. Hey, Nick.
Nick Tomboulides: Aloha.
Philip Blumel: I cannot believe it. Again, Michigan. It seems like every year there’s some new scheme to overthrow popular term limits law on the Michigan legislature. Just earlier this year, wasn’t it that the judge tossed out this suit that was trying to claim that the Michigan term limits were unconstitutional, and the judge laughed at it. And he scoffed at it, threw it out, with prejudice, and now it’s what… Two months later, and we hear about this new scheme with a lot of money behind it too. What’s going on?
Nick Tomboulides: Yeah, these Michigan politicians are just gonna keep trying. They’re gonna keep trying to get rid of term limits until they go to prison.
Philip Blumel: Right, right.
Nick Tomboulides: This should really be a national story. In my opinion, it should be a national scandal. We see this all over the country, that wherever term limits have already been enacted by the people, usually six or eight-year term limits, the politicians who have to leave office because of those term limits become infuriated. And they come up with these crooked and sleazy schemes to get rid of term limits, or to make their term limits longer. We saw it in California, we saw it in Arkansas, we see it on the local level all the time, and now it’s happening in Michigan. But the problem is, the politicians basically have to commit fraud in order to get rid of term limits because they would need a vote of the people to undo it, and the people would never go along with rescinding, repealing, or lengthening term limits. So the politicians resort to tricking the people, to scamming the people. And that is what’s happening in Michigan right now.
Philip Blumel: It’s unbelievable. And you can see why these politicians, particularly in Michigan, want to hold on to these jobs, why it’s so important to them because first of all, this is the fourth highest paid legislature in the country, right? So they’ve got something to lose, and it’s a full-time legislature too. So it’s all year round with a high salary, so there is really something to lose here and boy, they just will… They’re relentless.
Nick Tomboulides: Yeah, because when they first got into politics, they had a plan for their career. They had this amazing scheme, they were gonna spend the next 30 or 40 years taking money from lobbyists, getting re-elected, getting free healthcare, building these roads to nowhere. And then these pesky term-limits came along and they got in the way. And the politicians, when they get term-limited out, they throw hissy fits like little bratty children when their parents tell them It’s time to go home from Disneyland.
Philip Blumel: Right, right.
Nick Tomboulides: Because they have to return back to normal life. And they hate that. So this is happening in Michigan right now, and it’s a coalition of power-brokers that’s behind it. You’ve got the former Chamber of Commerce CEO, this guy named Rich Studley; the former Michigan speaker, Jase Bolger, the Mayor of Detroit, Mike Duggan. And they have formed a ballot committee, get a load of this. The name of the committee that’s trying to demolish term limits in Michigan is called Voters for Transparency and Term Limits.
Philip Blumel: Yeah, you’re right.
Nick Tomboulides: The committee run by ruling elite power-broker lobbyists and politicians is called Voters for Transparency and Term Limits.
Philip Blumel: Unbelievable, that is unbelievable. And I know the referendum they’re talking about, we know what it is, and we know what they’re gonna try to do. Right now in Michigan, they have six-year term limits on the lower House and eight years on the upper House for lifetime. This is the most popular schema for term limits in the country, for legislatures. And of course, we didn’t have all the polling naturally, and the people there in Michigan, they love it. So what the politicians are saying is with this new package, the transparency in term limits referendum, or initiative… God, it makes me so mad to say.
Nick Tomboulides: I can’t say it without laughing hysterically.
Philip Blumel: It’s awful.
Nick Tomboulides: “Hey, we’re gonna get rid of term limits, let’s call it Transparency in Term Limits”… People will really buy that. How stupid do you think people are?
Philip Blumel: I know. Now, here’s the trick, here’s how they claim… This is what their claim is. Right now we have six and eight-year term limits in Michigan, so theoretically you could spend six years in the House and then eight years in the Senate, and you would have 14 years all together in legislature, lifetime, right? So if this initiative they wanna put on the ballot would limit them to only 12 years in the legislature, well that’s a reduction of two years. Well, that’s what they say, but you can spend it…
Nick Tomboulides: The double is in the details.
Philip Blumel: You bet it’s in the details, ’cause the truth is, they’re actually really doubling the amount of time that legislators can stay there. Why? Because when you’re in the lower House, you have six years there. Well, then you get term-limited out. Now, you might try to run for the Senate, but of course, I think there’s two or three times as many members of the lower House than the upper House. Those lower House people are not all going to the Senate, alright? Some number of them do, but it’s a minority of them. So what really happens is in the House after six years, you’re term-limited out. And even if you do run for the Senate and theoretically get the 14 years there, you’re going to have to run a competitive election in a seat where you are not the incumbent in order to get there. Meaning that you have to have a competitive election and the voters are really gonna be able to weigh in on whether they want you representing them or not.
Philip Blumel: So if you’re in the house of Michigan, this thing will allow you to stay in the house where your re-election is pretty much guaranteed running for your own seat in the house for 12 years, instead of six. It doubles the amount of time that you can stay there.
Nick Tomboulides: Yep and we’ve got three articles about this actually already on our blog, there’s one from me, with the title that’s in all caps, MICHIGAN POLITICIANS & LOBBYISTS UNVEIL “SCAM OF THE CENTURY” TO DESTROY TERM LIMITS.
Philip Blumel: It’s what it is.
Nick Tomboulides: There’s a press release of US term limits condemning the fraudulent scheme to gut Michigan term limits, and then there’s an article by Patrick Anderson, who is one of the founding fathers of Michigan term limits, lives in Michigan about how this would double the time that one can serve in the Michigan House of Representatives. What you said is absolutely correct. And what we’ve seen is, I think there was some analysis that was done in California were a very similar scheme was attempted and actually succeeded. What happens is under the status quo with the six-year term limit in the house and the eight-year term limit in the Senate, only a very small percentage of termed-out Michigan house members actually make it to the Senate and complete the full term limit in the senate as well. So I think the numbers in California were like maybe 11% of all California legislators, did the full six in the house and the full eight in the Senate, and then another 75% didn’t do that, so this would lengthen term limits for 75% of roughly approximately of legislators and would only short-term limits for a very small percentage.
Nick Tomboulides: So that language is completely deceptive, they’re not only fraudulently misrepresenting themselves as a pro-term limit group in the name, but the language they show voters will falsely claim that they’re reducing the time a member can spend in the Michigan legislature. When in reality, they are doubling term limits, they’re creating more career politicians.
Philip Blumel: This is a public service announcement.
Ron DeSantis: Hello, this is Governor Ron DeSantis from Florida. Florida’s legislature was the first state in the nation to pass a resolution calling for an Article 5 term limits convention, giving state legislators a way to make term limits on Congress a reality, that I’m so encouraged to hear that Idaho is working on the same term limits resolution, Idaho could be the next state to get it done. Now, we have a divided country on many issues, and it’s remarkable to me that on virtually every demographic, you look at, Americans support term limits on members of Congress, and I just want you to know that you have my full support for this initiative, and you will not only be doing the business of the people of Idaho, but you will be doing a great thing for the vast, vast majority of the American people. Thank you, and God bless you for what you’re doing.
Philip Blumel: Right now, in the Michigan law as it sits, it’s a lifetime limit, so after you’ve completed six years in the house and you’re possible, but unlikely eight years additionally in the Senate, you have to leave the legislature completely, but I understand in this new language that is not true. And so get this, that means that one of the main ring leaders of this, who is former House Speaker Jase Bolger, who is now a lobbyist and leading this, and one of the leaders of this effort will be able to weasel his way back into… Maybe able to weasel his way back into the legislature because it also takes off the lifetime limit. So this is extremely self-interested on behalf of all of these plotters because the special interests, the unions that are backing it with money, which they are, the Chamber of Commerce, which is backing it with money, which they are, and the various individual special interests that are all of course looking for access and looking for longer term relationships with decision makers in legislature, but this guy, House speaker Jase Bolger, he is looking to continue his career in the legislature.
Nick Tomboulides: Yeah, he’s looking to feather his own nest.
Philip Blumel: You know it.
Nick Tomboulides: This might be the biggest scam I have ever seen in politics first hand, and that’s a very high bar ’cause I’ve seen quite a few of them, possibly even the biggest scam I’ve seen outside of politics, it is so dishonest, like Nigerian princes aspire to this level. What these people are doing, they’re taking the public’s love of term limits, and they’re weaponizing that to eliminate real term limits, and they’re actually doing something else as well, they’re packaging this hit on term limits with a phony ethics and transparency package. So this is all about tricking the voters, ironically, this group, they have transparency in their name, they’re supposedly calling for transparency, but they aren’t transparent at all, you just said it. They raised millions of dollars for this scheme… Nobody knows where that came from, exactly. It’s probably from big corporations and big unions who want those favors from the Michigan legislature, favors they can’t get right now because term limits put a stop to it, or maybe they want favors from this Detroit mayor, and he’s come to the table to make a deal. So they have to go out now, they’ve gotta collect hundreds of thousands of petitions if they wanna get this on the ballot, you could bet those will be signed probably under false pretenses because they’re not gonna be honest with the people.
Nick Tomboulides: They’re not gonna be honest with the signers about how this eliminates real term limits, they’re gonna deceive even the people who sign the petitions into thinking this helps term limits, scam of the century.
Philip Blumel: Yeah, “Oh, pardon me. Are you registered to vote in this county? Or in the State of Michigan. That’s great. Oh good, I’m collecting signatures. In order to reduce the amount of time that legislators can serve in the Michigan legislature from 14 to 12 years, would you like to sign”? That’s what they’re gonna say. That’s exactly what they’re gonna say. And they’re gonna hand them a clipboard, “Oh I’m for that” and they’re gonna sign it. Oh yeah, it’s gonna be… It’s gonna be corrupt from the top to the bottom, and by the way, I mentioned some of the specific special interest that are… That we believe are funding this, and you’re right, they don’t have to release that information, but the Detroit news is reporting that the Michigan Chamber and other specific organizations are part of the… Part of the team.
Nick Tomboulides: But the Michigan Chamber that’s like a pass-through entity, no one knows who is really contributing to the Michigan Chamber and which donations might be earmarked for this purpose.
Philip Blumel: Good point.
Nick Tomboulides: So it’s ironic that the transparent group is hardly transparent at all. Look, we’re the national authority on this issue, US term limits. We know term limits inside and out, we’ve worked on hundreds and hundreds of campaigns, and we can tell you this is a scam. It is a scam, beware of Michigan lobbyists offering you term limits.
Philip Blumel: That’s right. Well, they have… The deadline to submit the signatures to the Secretary of State of Michigan is July 11th, we know they got money, and we know that they’ll have a good story on the streets and they’ll be collecting the signatures. They need like 426,000 number or something like that, they’ll collect a lot more than that to make sure to some it won’t be any good. I think that this is a real threat, with this money behind them, and so we have to get the word out in Michigan. We’re gonna be sending a lot of things down the pike on term limits, Michigan term limits on Facebook, if you want to like us, and we’ll keep you up-to-date on what’s happening if you live in Michigan, forward it around, make sure your neighbors and everything know that this is a scam and we gotta see it go down in flames.
Nick Tomboulides: Amen.
Philip Blumel: Thanks for joining us for another episode of No Uncertain Terms. The Term Limits Convention bills are moving through the State legislatures, this could be a breakthrough year for the Term Limits movement. To check on the status of the Term Limits Convention Resolution in your State, go to termlimits.com/takeaction, there you will see if it has been introduced and where it stands in the committee process on its way to the floor vote. If there’s action to take, you’ll see a take action button by your State, click it. This will give you the opportunity to send a message to the most relevant legislators urging them to support the legislation, they have to know you’re watching. That’s termlimits.com/take action. If your State has already passed the Term Limits Convention resolution or the bill has not been introduced in your State, you can still help. Please consider making a contribution to US Term Limits, it is our aim to hit the reset button on the US Congress and you can help. Go to termlimits.com/donate, termlimits.com/donate. Thanks, we’ll be back next week.
Stacey Selleck: The revolution isn’t being televised. Fortunately, you have the No Uncertain Terms podcast.
Philip Blumel: USTL.