After hijacking the federal #RideMI event for his reelection, it is time for Peters to show the receipts— and refund Michigan families
LANSING, Mich., September 1, 2020 – U.S. Senator Gary Peters has corrupted an annual taxpayer-funded motorcycle tour to benefit his reelection campaign and should not only show Michigan taxpayers the receipts, but also send them a refund for all of the money he previously wasted on the now tainted event.
Michigan Republican Party Chairman Laura Cox says Peters should release a detailed description of all public resources used from 2016 – 2019 to create the annual “#RideMI”event that Peters has this week hijacked and turned into a tool for his reelection.
Using taxpayer funding, Peters first created, branded and operated a multi-day, cross-state motorcycle tour called #RideMI in 2016. The tour also took place in 2017, 2018 and 2019, during which he pursued and obtained large amounts of media coverage for himself.
Click on examples of #RideMI self-promotional efforts paid for by Peters’ official office.
At Peters’ direction, his official taxpayer-funded office built up branding for the annual “#RideMI” event and used office resources to plan, organize, publicize and operate the tours.
In other words, #RideMI is an annual event created by and controlled by his official office.
Peters described the annual #RideMI federal government event as a way for him to connect with constituents in his official role as a U.S. Senator. “In the Senate, I want to ensure that I am representing every county in our state, and this tour allowed me to hear directly from constituents…”
Well, that was until he decided the event was more beneficial for his personal use.
Peters announced yesterday at the 2020 tour kick-off that he has hijacked the event, taking advantage of all the public money and resources spent since 2016 to build up the notoriety of the tour. Peters corrupted the tour in order to benefit his reelection campaign.
While in Warren, Peters brazenly said that he took the product of his official office for himself. “Every year, I travel all across the state to do meetings. Normally it’s official. This is a campaign ride this year.”
News media coverage put it more bluntly. “The tours are usually taxpayer-funded events allowing Peters to meet constituents and discuss legislative priorities during the Senate’s summer recess, but this year’s 1,000-mile ride was organized by Peters’ reelection campaign as he seeks a second term in the U.S. Senate this November.”
In the interest of transparency, Cox called on Peters to immediately release a detailed list of all public resources spent on the tour from 2016-2019 and for Peters to refund taxpayers for an event that is clearly now tainted for any future official use.
Details for Peters to release include:
- Tour planning time
- Advance work
- Video recording
- Video production
- Graphic design
- Social media posting
- Daily high-resolution photos taken, posted and maintained on specialty office Flickr page
- Daily and summary press releases
- Any costs refunded to Peters for use of his personal motorcycle
“As a former financial advisor, Gary Peters seems to have a knack for maximizing his personal returns on taxpayer dollars, whether it’s getting exclusive government-funded health care, collecting two government paychecks at the same time while not showing up for work or traveling the world on the government dime,” said Cox. “Now he has corrupted an annual government event that can never be used again because it is tainted by his greed. On this year’s tour, Peters will be riding his motorcycle straight out of the Senate.”