Following a state budget deal in which state worker furloughs and a hiring freeze were required to balance the current fiscal year budget, Michigan Republican Party Chairman Laura Cox today called on Governor Gretchen Whitmer to release all documents related to the hire of presidential campaign staff on her state office payroll over the last six months of her unofficial candidacy for the vice presidency.
According to Bridge, Whitmer announced that the current-year FY 20 budget deficit will be partly filled by saving “$490 million through hiring and discretionary spending freezes, layoffs and "other identified savings.”
The necessity of cutting back on the salaries of state employees who carry out key functions of Michigan’s government calls into question why Whitmer hired at least one presidential campaign staffer into her communications office during the period of time in which her unofficial candidacy for vice president was at its peak, highlighted by a national media appearance blitz unrivaled in Michigan history.
National political operative boosts Whitmer’s candidacy while on state payroll
One Democrat presidential operative spent most of this year on Whitmer’s executive office communications staff after working as a national spokesperson for presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg. Whitmer’s office never publicly announced the hire.
During this time, from roughly March through June, Whitmer’s national media appearances exploded as her name moved up the V.P. speculation list. The culmination of these efforts came on May 19th, when The Hill reported “that she has had an “opening conversation” with Joe Biden’s campaign about her potential as a running mate pick.”
However, by June 12th, WWJ reported that “Biden's VP List Narrows — And Gretchen Whitmer Isn't On It.”
Just a few days later, after collecting many state paychecks, Whitmer’s personal vice-presidential hype man parachuted out of her office and went back to the national campaign scene, joining the Democratic National Committee in support of Biden.
Cox: Whitmer should release the receipts for her state-funded V.P. campaign
“Michigan taxpayers know a scam when they see one. Gov. Whitmer should be transparent and release the receipts showing how much tax money she spent on her V.P. hype man,” said Michigan Republican Party Chairman Laura Cox. “Whitmer’s budget deal requires layoffs for actual state workers who serve the people, but somehow she found the tax money to hire a presidential campaign staffer in her official office to serve herself.”