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Rep. Mark Meadows found guilty of house rules violations

September 14, 2011

State Rep. Mark Meadows, D-East Lansing, was found guilty of violating Michigan House rules Tuesday, just a day before his former chief of staff became the second Democratic candidate for the seat.

Susan Schmidt, who is well-known for her community service to the city, officially announced her candidacy for the 69th district seat a day after Meadows, one of her most high-profile advocates, was found guilty of violating several House rules for endorsing her using a constituent newsletter.

The letter, which was sent by email in August, endorsed Schmidt in the race for the 69th district in 2012, when Meadows will not be allowed to run because of term limits.

Tuesday, the House Business Office informed Meadows he is facing a $35 fine and a 60-day loss of mailing privileges after being found guilty of violating House rules by using government resources for campaign affairs, said Ari Adler, press secretary for Speaker of the House Jase Bolger, R-Marshall.

The House Business Office is a nonpartisan office that investigates House Rules. Adler said the office also is sending a copy of the letter to the Secretary of State’s office to determine if Meadows also violated campaign finance laws.

Meadows — who has a history with the other Democratic candidate, former East Lansing Mayor Sam Singh. , after previously serving on East Lansing City Council with him — has been quick to endorse Schmidt, who stepped down two weeks ago after spending the last five years as his chief of staff.

He touted her work at the Capitol, and said she has the necessary skills to fight for MSU’s interests in the face of higher education cuts passed by the Republican-controlled House.

“She has been involved in all the major decision making,” Meadows said. “That’s a primary quality in ensuring that our largest employer, Michigan State University, gets the attention and funding it should have.”
Meadows also denied allegations that he violated House rules. He said Schmidt was not officially a candidate at the time he endorsed her, and therefore he did not violate House rules or campaign finance laws.

“I do disagree with the ruling,” Meadows said. “I’m not sure what the motivation on this (decision) was.”

Schmidt, an Ohio State University graduate, has done little work on campus, but has been heavily involved in East Lansing since moving here in 1993. She served for four years on East Lansing’s school board, including a one-year stint as president. Earlier in her career, she served as an academic adviser at Indiana University for two years.

Her announcement followed Singh’s, who announced his candidacy in June.

Singh is a 1994 MSU alumnus who went on to become the youngest mayor in the East Lansing’s history after Meadows’ departure from the position to serve in the House in 2005.

In a statement announcing her candidacy, Schmidt assured 69th district constituents she has the right combination of qualities to fill the seat.

“I believe that my hands-on experience in working on community projects for nearly 20 years, my firsthand experience in state government and the legislative process and my perspective as a veteran educator and parent make me the most effective candidate to represent the people in the 69th District,” Schmidt said in the release.

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