State to investigate allegations against House candidate

LANSING — The Bureau of Elections will investigate allegations that Tom Stobie, candidate for 101st state representative, violated campaign law by using his school district email for campaign-related communications.

The complaint was filed by Kimberly Jorns, executive director for the Michigan Republican Party, on June 13. In the complaint, to the Secretary of State office, Jorns claims a Freedom of Information Act request revealed Stobie used his school district email to seek support for his campaign.

Stobie is the former superintendent of Frankfort-Elberta schools. He is the Democratic Party’s nominee for the seat held by Rep. Ray Franz, R-Onekama.

“An investigation will go forward,” said Fred Woodhams, a spokesman for the Secretary of State. “Stobie will have 15 days to respond to the allegations. He can also ask for an extension. Then, Jorns will have a chance to respond to Stobie’s position. The bureau will then decide if there was a violation or not.”

According to Jorns, any number of penalties, from fines to formal agreements to not commit the violation again, could be imposed, if Stobie is found to be in violation of campaign law.

Stobie declined to comment until he received the official complaint.

“Tom Stobie knowingly abused public resources for his campaign, and rather than coming clean with this blatant violation, he played games and boasted to friends he was going to ‘make [us] wait’ because he was in charge of the process,” said Michigan Republican Party Communications Director Darren Littell. “What we’re seeing here is another case of Democrats engaging in unlawful behavior without remorse or concern for the families they represent. This is the latest example of the culture of corruption within the Michigan Democrats’ caucus that has harmed our state for years. It’s time for Mark Schauer and Democrat leaders to publicly condemn this behavior, otherwise it is more evidence that Democrats want to return to the Lost Decade because they believe they are above the law.”

The complaint alleges the following:

  • Stobie violated Section 57 of the Michigan Finance Campaign Act by express advocacy from his school district email account; and
  • Mr. Stobie violated Section 57 of the Michigan Finance Campaign Act when he sought campaign contributions using public resources.

The complaint also seeks the following:

  • The Michigan Secretary of State to immediately investigate this violation and determine Mr. Stobie has violated Michigan Campaign Finance Act; and
  • To assess all appropriate penalties for such violations.

The full complaint can be found at Stobie had not returned calls for comment as of press time. A follow up story will be printed in the next edition.