By Dawn Wolfe Gutterman
LANSING – According to a story in the Jan. 4 Detroit News, an audit requested by Rep. Leon Drolet (R-Clinton Township) found that the State Civil Rights Commission’s actions to defend against Proposal 2 violated state campaign laws.
The audit was conducted by the state auditor general, which released its findings in a letter on Jan. 3.
“The commission crossed the line between expressing an opinion and attempting to influence the outcome of a ballot proposal when it passed a resolution ‘urging Michigan voters to resist this effort (Proposal 2),'” the auditor general said according to the News.
The News report said that Drolet will also investigate whether the Civil Rights Department used public money against the anti-affirmative action proposal slated for this year’s ballot.
According to Sean Kosofsky, director of policy for the Triangle Foundation, Drolet’s efforts are directly aimed at keeping the state from weighing in against the anti-affirmative action ballot proposal. Drolet is on the steering committee of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, the California-backed group that is attempting to ban affirmative action in Michigan.
Drolet voted against banning equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians when the issue was before the state House, which led right-wing groups to put the ban on the ballot in 2004.
“I don’t believe that the state acted inappropriately at all in coming out against an attack on civil rights,” Kosofsky said. “That’s what they’re there for. I understand where Leon’s going with this, but our state’s Civil Rights Commission is charged with our civil rights, and if they see that a ban on affirmative action will harm civil rights, they should weigh in accordingly – especially since the campaign to put this thing on the ballot has been misleading voters about what it will do.”
According to the News, the State Civil Rights Commission spent $150 of taxpayers’ money to publish the commission’s resolution urging voters to reject Proposal 2.