Dark money group spends $50,000 on shady campaign to oust Rep. Tlaib in primary election

Aug 3, 2020 at 5:23 pm
click to enlarge U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib. - Steve Neavling
Steve Neavling
U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib.

A dark money group contributed $50,000 to a super PAC that has attacked Rep. Rashida Tlaib with false claims.

A newly formed nonprofit, The Community Election Committee, donated the money to The Concerned Citizens for Michigan PAC, which is supporting Tlaib’s primary election opponent Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones.

Unlike political action committees, nonprofits aren't required to disclose their donors, enabling movers and shakers to influence elections without voters learning about their identities.

The PAC and nonprofit share the same address – 1442 Brush Street in downtown Detroit. The PAC's treasurer Chris Jackson is a developer and political consultant who uses that address. While under oath in 2010, Jackson admitted he tried to bribe then-Councilwoman Monica Conyers. He's also a member of the Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors and Detroit Building Authority Commission and is the former chief of staff to former City Council President Gil Hill.

Jackson has not returned Metro Times' calls for comment.

It's unclear what, if anything, the nonprofit does. According to its website, the group “is dedicated to enhancing voter education, and improving voter registration and turnout in the City of Detroit and surrounding areas.”

“Our secondary goal is to provide the general electorate with information pertaining to candidates so that they can make well informed decisions while exercising their vote,” the website says.

The phone number listed on the group’s website went to a voicemail, and no one returned Metro Times’ call.

Most of the PAC's budget came from the nonprofit. The PAC also received $12,500 from billionaire Donald Foss, the founder and former chairman and CEO of subprime car finance company Credit Acceptance, and $8,000 Linden Nelson, president of Creative Concepts. An additional $1,000 came from Lansing Farms Properties.

The PAC spent $70,000 on campaign mailers, radio ads, and email marketing for Jones, according to the Federal Election Commission. No other political candidate received money from the PAC.

One of the mailers in early July falsely claimed Tlaib has failed to pass any laws and “brought home ZERO DOLLARS to the 13th District.”

Truth is, one of Tlaib's bill was signed into law – no small feat with a Republican president and Senate – and she has helped bring in hundreds of millions of dollars for local hospitals, Veteran Affairs services, student loan forgiveness, and utilities assistance, to name a few, largely through her very active neighborhood service centers. During the coronavirus pandemic, Tlaib has helped constituents navigate Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency.

Jones couldn't be reached for comment.

The primary election is Tuesday.

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