John D. Pirich, Governor Snyder’s newly appointed chair of the Michigan Board of Ethics , Republican legal gun for hire, and all-around bullshitter, has just added a new skill to his less than scrupulous bag of dirty tricks.
He’s acquired the mind control powers of Obi-Wan Kenobi. (Remember that scene where Obi convinced the Stormtroopers that R2D2 and C3PO were not the droids they were looking for — simply by saying it, thus making it appear true?)
Michigan now has its own Jedi Master: Obi-Wan Pirich!
Awesome! How cool is that?
In fact, not cool at all –he’s gone to the dark side, or more accurately, he never left it. After Snyder awarded him his Ethics Board coronation, Pirich took that as license to be the “decider” as to what is or is not an ethics violation, particularly where it applies to himself. And like we would expect out of a ethically-challenged public figure, he decided that the rules simply don’t apply to him.
Back on May 6th of this year I filed an official ethics complaint against Pirich solidly grounded in the the rules he is sworn to protect as the chair of that board. The specifics of my complaint could not have been clearer or more succinct. So Pirich, running out of reality-based options, had to go Jedi on me. Well, actually he had his secretary do it for him. He’s busy destroying democracy — that takes alot out of even a great Master.
Let’s do a little history (queue up the Star Wars theme).
A coalition of citizen activists called Stand Up for Democracy successfully petitioned last year for a referendum in Michigan to place the Emergency Manager Law on the ballot this November for repeal.
A conservative Super PAC, Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility, was desperately casting about for any bullshit excuse they could pull out of their collective conservative asses to discredit the petitions and negatively influence the Board of State Canvassers — the official deciding public body charged with ruling as to the the merit of the petition drive. A member of the Board of State Canvassers, Jeffery Timmer, was also affiliated with the Super PAC.
Next, the Super PAC hired John D. Pirich to find any reason whatsoever to reject the petitions, real or imagined, and to report it directly, as their hired representative, to the Board of State Canvassers on why they should not approve the petitions for a referendum vote. Pirich, fabricated a false claim that the font size on the petitions was incorrect. (He may have also conspired with the Secretary of State’s office to suppress expert testimony that refuted his erroneous claim — an investigation is in order here, but isn’t likely to emerge from the corrupt culture of Governor Snyder’s administration).
Pirich, straight-faced and chock-full of bullshit, presented his falsehood to the Board of State Canvassers, who in turn deadlocked along party lines based solely and completely on Pirich’s unethical lie. This caused the referendum to be blocked from being put to a popular vote — another outrageous assault on democracy in the state of Michigan.
The finding was challenged in the Court of Appeals. Where it was heard by a panel of three conservative judges who all ruled that the Pirich finding was not a valid reason on which to deny the ballot position for the referendum. A full Court of Appeals ruling further validated that finding.
Okay, so specifically, in legal terms, exactly what did Pirich do that violated the code of ethics?
The State Code of Ethics Section 2, Sub-section 4 reads: A public officer or employee shall not solicit or accept a gift or loan of money, goods, services, or other thing of value for the benefit of a person or organization, other than the state, which tends to influence the manner in which the public officer or another public officer or employee performs official duties.
FACT: Pirich, a public officer of the state, was hired and paid to make a finding, which he fabricated, (and possibly participated in a cover-up of its falsehood), that was favorable to Jeffrey Timmer’s organization.
FACT: Timmer, a public officer of the state, was unduly and incorrectly influenced by the false and fabricated findings of Pirich.
How could it be any clearer? Or, well-documented for that matter.
Yet, Pirich ordered his executive secretary, Janet McClelland, to summarily dismiss the complaint without any review by the State Board of Ethics. I doubt they even saw it, or were aware of its existence.
And what was the official reason the Pirich puppet gave for exonerating her beloved boss?
(HINT: Watch how she deftly misses the point of my complaint)
“A thorough review of your submissions results in a finding that your allegations are not supported by evidentiary facts as required in Rule 15.5(2). There is no nexus between Mr. Pirich’s provision of legal counsel to the Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility and his appointment to the State Board of Ethics. Therefore the decisions he makes as a Board member or as its Chair cannot be influenced by his provision of legal services to the Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility.”
As I stated previously of Mr. Pirich himself, he is “clearly behaving either incompetently or flat-out unethically”.
I think we can safely say the same of his hair-brained secretary.
This is a man with no scruples, no ethics, no sense of moral fiber when it comes to his responsibility to the people he should feel honored to serve and protect. He is mercenary, and is guided by sociopathic political motives that are completely divorced from reality.
And the worst part is — he expects the public to buy his horseshit and like it.
Oh yes, Michigan….These aren’t the ethics violations you are looking for….move along”