BOD Attack on Members
BOD Attacks First Amendment
Post Election Update
What they have done
Demands Members Have
Who we are
What You Can Do:
Bad Election Endorsements!
This election is set to go down in history as MCRGO's saddest hour. We spent six years building the organization up into the finest independent non-partisan gun lobby in the country but in less than six months, we've seen the organization taken over by a handful of Republican Party activists who have put the GOP first and gun rights second. They've also ignored many races where long-time friends of ours were running and several good pro-gunners have suffered or will soon suffer as a result. Below is a brief compilation of just some of the failures and pending failures that were made by MCRGO's Board of Directors (BOD) and the PAC Committee. For the information of the members, the PAC Committee is made up of Chuck Perricone, David Aviles and David Felbeck. Perricone is the 'consultant' that MCRGO hired for $100,000 to replace Founder and Executive Director Ross Dykman after they threw him out to make room for Perricone. He is also a former Republican state rep. who was unable to find work with any other lobbying firm since leaving office a year and a half before being hired by MCRGO. Aviles is a Board member who is also a core Republican Party activist from West Michigan. Felbeck is the self-proclaimed 'President' of MCRGO and another core Republican. There are currently no Democrats on the PAC committee since committee member Eileen DeHart was ousted from the committee along with fellow committee members Alan Cropsey and Ross Dykman. Dehart, Cropsey and Dykman had been MCRGO's PAC committee from it's inception but all were broomed to allow Pericone, Aviles and Felbeck to take over control of the endorsements and bank account. Additonally, Todd Adkins, MCRGO BOD member and NRA state liaison, sits as the silent and unofficial '4th member' of the PAC committee. Adkins has veto power over all decisions of the PAC and frequently tells them who to endorse or not endorse. Of course the members and the legislators are not supposed to know about this but it's true and former PAC treasurer Dan Wholihan can verify it.
The PAC Committee and BOD's bad decisions are listed here, categorized by the reason for the decisions. Some occurred because of partisan politics the new 'GOP uber Alles' policy that the Board espouses. Others were basic negligence' no one bothered to do the jobs that needed to be done. Then there were those decisions that were adverse to MCRGO but which were made regardless by either Chuck Perricone or Todd Adkins. It will be left to the members to determine why Perricone and Adkins do what they're doing. But one thing's for sure and that is that they ARE doing these things. This list is nothing more than a compilation of FACTS. They may be unpleasant facts that the members won't like and that the BOD doesn't want to acknowledge, but they are facts nonetheless.
County Sheriff Tom Kern was an early supporter of CCW, having worked closely with Rep. Mike Green, the author of the CCW bill. He spoke at MCRGO meetings, advocated for MCRGO, and he encouraged people to join MCRGO in the CCW classes and meetings that he spoke at. He was a member and a true supporter.
However when Tom Kern decided to run for the State House, he was surprised to find that the support that he had a right to expect from MCRGO wasn't there. You see, Sheriff Kern was a Democrat, and even though his opponent, Tom Meyer, hadn't done anything noteworthy to help MCRGO, Meyer was a Republican and MCRGO's PAC and BOD decided that it was more important for a lackluster Republican to win that seat than a hard-core pro-gun ex-cop who was also a Democrat. It didn't matter to them that the voice of a career lawman would do a lot to bring credibility to the pro-gun side in the legislature, especially a pro-gun Democrat who would be influential within his own party.
This choice suggests that MCRGO is really no longer interested in converting the Democratic party to a pro-gun party. All they apparently want to do now is elect republicans, even mediocre ones. And it came with a cost. Sheriff Kern's telling anyone who'll listen that he's through with MCRGO and that MCRGO can't be trusted to back it's friends.
Andy Neumann. The Democratic State Rep. From Alpena has always been pro-gun and 100% in line with MCRGO but when he ran for State Senate this November, the PAC and BOD decided to endorse Tony Stamas, a moderate Republican who had supported several of the amendments intended to weaken out CCW law. Stamas wasn't close to MCRGO and didn't vote in accordance with MCRGO's agenda, but he got the endorsement anyway even though Neumann's record was better.
Eileen DeHart. Our own Eileen DeHart. She was one of he core supporters of CCW back when it wasn't fashionable for Dems or women to fight for the right. She sat on the committee that handled testimony, demolished anti-gun speakers who tried to convince the legislature not to pass the bill, and supported MCRGO 100% until term limits took her out of the House. It's safe to say that without Eileen and a few other dems who crossed over to fight hard for CCW, we'd never have gotten to where we are today. Upon leaving office she immediately took a position on MCRGO's PAC committee and used her party access to help MCRGO reach other Democrats and win them over to our cause.
But in spite of all her hard work, MCRGO won't lift a finger to help her win the State Senate race she's now embroiled again. They technically endorsed her, but then qualified it by claiming that her opponent, Republican State Rep. Laura Toy is 'equally qualified'. That's a total lie and every member should question the integrity of every BOD member who signed onto that false statement. Laura Toy voted in favor of some of the anti-CCW amendments and Laura Toy has never spoken at MCRGO meetings or worked on her own time to build and advance MCRGO like Eileen has. But the MCRGO BOD appears to be more concerned with the possibility that Eileen's victory would give a seat to the Democrats, and Todd Adkins, MCRGO BOD member and NRA state liaison, has stated that he prefers Toy because he's trying to build favors with the Republican party. Eileen is our staunchest Dem friend and one of our earliest supporters. She was working for Michigan gun rights long before Todd Adkins ever came along. She earned MCRGO's support a dozen times over. It's just shameful that partisan politics appear to be keeping her from getting it.
JUST PLAIN NEGLIGENCE
Mickey Mortimer, a State Rep. From Jackson has been one of the strongest supporters of gun rights and CCW and a major backer of MCRGO. Locked in a dead heat race against anti-gun Rep. Mark Schauer from Battle Creek, his pleas for help to MCRGO have gone unanswered. At a time when Mortimer needed volunteers and public meetings and other events, MCRGO's BOD couldn't come through with anything more than a mention on their 'endorsement' list. Mortimer got nothing from MCRGO when he'd done so much to help the group and the cause. Where was the MCRGO BOD? If Mortimer does win, he sure won't owe MCRGO anything because the BOD left him to hang. And if Schauer wins, anti-gunners across the state will be singing the praises of Felbeck and his cronies.
Paul DeWeese. A pro-gun state rep and a doctor from Williamston in Ingham County. He's running against anti-gun Virg Birnero and like Mortimer, he's asked for help from MCRGO and gotten nothing back. He's always been there in support and it was good to have a pro-gun doctor rebutting the claims of the anti-gun doctors when they tried to convince the legislature that the medical community all opposed more guns or less gun restrictions. But MCRGO's new rulers on the BOD apparently don't feel any obligation to repay the long-time friend and member who spoke at so many MCRGO meetings and fought for our cause so well. According to Rep. DeWeese, they don't even return his calls and this is the first race he's had to run without any volunteers from MCRGO. Why has MCRGO abandoned him all of a sudden?
Bob Gosselin was killed off politically in the August primary election, losing the chance to run for state senate to Shirley Johnson. Johnson was a liberal Republican state rep who voted against every bill MCRGO ever supported. Gosselin, on the other hand, was a 100% MCRGO supporter and a Rep. That MCRGO had previously enjoyed good relations with. This had been a very close race and it didn't have to go the way it did. But one of the reasons that it did was that MCRGO did absolutely nothing to help Gosselin. There were and still are rumors that MCRGO's East Oakland County chapter chairs, Josh and Jessica Lutz, refused to help Gosselin due to his staunch opposition to homosexuality, a cause which they personally support. But that doesn't excuse the BOD for allowing that to happen. The BOD should have been in there propping up a good friend who needed just a little more help in a tough close race against one of MCRGO's most determined foes. But they didn't, and now we'll have Senator Johnson to deal with from here on out.
Don Vickers. Don is a long-time local politician and MCRGO member from Ingham County who decided to run for the State House seat against term-limited Senator Dianne Byrum. Gun Onwers will remember that Byrum ran for Congress against Mike Rogers and when she lost due to gun owner support for Rogers, she got even by voting against the CCW law and by organizing a coalition of her fellow senators to vote against the dove-hunting bill that had already passed the House. That dove bill failed by ONE VOTE in the senate Byrum's. And now she's running for a House seat and she hates MCRGO.
But when our own member Don Vickers runs against her and has a good chance of beating her, MCRGO doesn't even recognize him with an endorsement. They left that entire race out of their endorsement list and pretended that Don didn't even exist despite his turning in a perfect candidate survey to the MCRGO office. Members honestly have to wonder what PAC Committee members Perricone, Aviles and Felbeck were thinking when they hung Don out to dry. Needless to say, win or lose, Don's done with MCRGO.
Joe Knollenberg . How many members actually know that Congressman Joe Knollenberg's opponent in the close Oakland County Congressional race is David Fink? How many members know that David Fink was the attorney who led the crusade against our CCW law and headed up the group 'People Who Care About Kids'? That's right. Fink is a close friend of Mike Duggan, Wayne County's anti-gun prosecutor. But the MCRGO BOD hasn't told the members that yet. And Fink's showing quite well against Knollenberg in the new district. I'll bet the members would love to know that one of our biggest foes is running for office with a chance of winning. The question is, why hasn't the BOD told anyone about this? Where was the fundraiser to defeat Fink? Why no letters to the newspapers from members? This is just another race that MCRGO is sitting out.
Miles Handy. MCRGO member from Redford is running for the state house seat being vacated by Bob Brown. It's a swing seat that could go either way, and even though Handy has spoken at several MCRGO meetings and pledged his support for the organization, the PAC didn't even endorse him until member Fred Mager began lobbying the other local members to put pressure on the BOD. Now he's endorsed but he still isn't getting any help at all. If he wins, it won't be because of MCRGO. But if he loses, we'll have to know that we probably could have prevented it had we only put on a fundraiser for him or motivated our Western Wayne County members to do something.
BECAUSE THE NRA TOLD US TO.
Mike Green. The very legislator who authored our shall-issue CCW law. Mike Green spent most of the last two years in office fighting for the CCW law every single day. When not in session, he was traveling the state to build support for the bills, and he spoke at dozens of MCRGO meetings all across Michigan and urged people to join MCRGO and help win our fight. Mike Green worked harder with and for MCRGO than any legislator save perhaps Alan Cropsey himself. Yet MCRGO's PAC and BOD backed away from him as soon as Todd Adkins and Chuck Perricone decided that Congressman Jim Barcia had a better chance of being elected to the State Senate seat that Mike Green was running for. And Barcia may have had a better chance, but Mike Green more than anyone else earned MCRGO's support come what may, and the Board of Directors refused to give it. Like Eileen DeHart, he got an 'endorsement' but this was followed with a statement that Barcia was 'just as good' on the issue. And while Green had been getting PAC funds and volunteer help from MCRGO before Barcia's entry into the race, once Chuck Perricone and Todd Adkins assumed control of the PAC all that support from MCRGO was cut off cold.
Mike Green went to the mat for MCRGO for two years and earned any help he wanted in return. Congressman Barcia may well be pro-gun but he has never had any sort of a working relationship with MCRGO and he even skipped the last annual meeting after demanding a seat and an introduction through his connections at the NRA. Mike Green is also telling people how MCRGO shafted him and that's going to resonate with other people that MCRGO's new leaders ask for support later on. Bottom line is that the NRA's priorities are not always MCRGO's and it's wrong for the BOD to let the NRA dictate who MCRGO will back.
Steve Vear. Author of the famous Vear Transportation Bill and a State Rep. from Hillsdale who worked tirelessly on behalf of MCRGO, twice offering his bill to lessen the ability of police to seize lawfully-owned handguns from motorists before it passed. He was also a solid fighter for CCW and dove hunting and had spoken at many MCRGO meetings and events. But his opponent in the August primary race for a state senate seat was Rep. Cameron Brown, a guy who had stabbed gun owners in the back by voting against the dove hunting bill in 2000 after promising to vote in favor. Per Todd Adkins, Brown told him that he didn't care what he'd put on his NRA survey, he was only willing to vote for CCW OR dove hunting, but not both. And Brown did in fact vote against dove after promising to support it. Of course in this last session, Brown came back and offered another bill designed to allow dove hunting. This bill didn't pass and it's doubtful that Brown intended it to. But it was enough to make Adkins pledge his support to Brown over Vear. And Adkins pressured the MCRGO BOD heavily to forsake Vear and back Brown just as the NRA did in their endorsements. And the BOD sat the race out and refused to host so much as a single event for Vear or send even one volunteer down to help him. Vear had earned MCRGO's support for passing the law that bears his name. But he was sold out at Adkins' urging and he lost his race. Yet another example of how we now treat our friends who bust their asses for us.
BECAUSE PERRICONE WANTED IT.
Backing Clark Bisbee was an incredibly stupid thing for MCRGO to do, as he was one of the very few Republican legislators to go against MCRGO 100% in his first year. He voted against CCW, dove hunting, and the Vear bill. But he's a friend of Perricone's and when Perricone was still a state representative himself, he was begging MCRGO to 'lighten up' on Bisbee and not portray him as such a bad guy. Perricone was told to have Bisbee cast just a single pro-gun vote as proof that he wasn't anti-gun, but Bisbee refused to do it. Still Perricone tried to get MCRGO to support him. But that was then, and now we have a situation where Perricone works for MCRGO. Bisbee's record didn't change but Perricone and the other two members of the PAC committee endorsed him anyway. His name was actually put out on MCRGO PAC's website as someone to vote for. But when MCRGO member and PAC Treasurer Dan Wholihan objected and brought it to the attention of the membership, two things happened. First, the BOD came under a storm of protest and reluctantly withdrew the endorsement, issuing a lame excuse from Dave Aviles that Bisbee's record had somehow 'gotten by them'. Secondly, the BOD fired Wholihan and revoked his access to the member website, barring him from posting any further comments about the BOD's actions. Dan was right and the BOD was wrong, and when they tried to solve the problem by censoring and barring Dan's volunteer who'd earned an award as MCRGO's 2001 'Activist of the Year' they practically admitted that they are more concerned with keeping members from finding out about their mistakes than they are about keeping them from occurring.
Patty Birkholz was a state rep. from Alleghan County who had been pretty solid behind MCRGO. She'd made a couple bad votes on the CCW law but supported the law overall and she'd come to MCRGO afterwards, admitted that she'd been wrong, and promised to vote with MCRGO consistently from then on to make things right. And to her credit, she'd done just tat, becoming a model legislator for MCRGO. Now Rep. Birkholz is on her way to the State Senate, but no thanks to MCRGO. She was challenged in the August Primary by former state rep. Terry Gieger, a republican who left office before the CCW law had come up for a vote. It quickly boiled down to a very tight race and Rep. Birkholz was slated for the MCRGO endorsement over Geiger because of her superior record and because Gieger had just been arrested for drunk driving in Eaton County, a key factor in a race that was going to be decided by Eaton County voters. But Gieger and Perricone were old friends and as soon as Perricone was hired and given a seat on the PAC Committee, Gieger was given the endorsement. Of course Birkholz had already been told that she was getting it, and she suspected from the start that Perricone was behind the change. And when she won the primary over Gieger, one of her staff put it succinctly: 'MCRGO and Perricone had better not come around asking for a thing.' Of course the BOD is trying to make amends by endorsing her in the General election, but the seat is one of the most republican seats in Michigan and she doesn't need and isn't asking for MCRGO's help now.
Jonathan Grant. Jon Grant was an MCRGO member who was running in the Republican primary back in August to unseat anti-gun Republican Rep. John Stewart. Stewart not only voted against CCW, he paraded with the Million Moms and supported a bill that would increase the places that CCW holders cannot carry their pistols into. He was easily the most anti-gun Republican in the legislature. But he was also a friend of Perricone's, so when Perricone took over at MCRGO, one of the first things that happened was that Grant became the invisible man and MCRGO stopped supporting him. Stewart didn't get an endorsement, but Grant's was rescinded and that was all that was needed. Stewart won that primary by just a little over 300 votes in a district where MCRGO claims over a thousand members. None of those members were told to go out and vote for Grant or given the final low-down on Stewart. We could have won that race and sent a message by knocking out an anti-gun incumbent in his own party primary. That would have made news across the state and gotten MCRGO quite a bit of grudging respect. But Perricone prevented that from happening and the BOD let him do it. And it didn't escape the notice of the Republican party members who had been backing Grant heavily. They all know that Grant got stabbed in the back and they know that it was by MCRGO at Perricone's direction.
Backing Elizabeth Weaver for the Supreme Court was another of MCRGO BOD's screw-ups. Weaver was one of the Justices who voted AGAINST MCRGO when the Supreme Court heard the case about the constitutionality of the anti-gun attempt to strike our CCW law at the ballot box by Referendum. It was a 5-4 vote, and Weaver was in the anti-gun, Anti-MCRGO minority. Had just one other Justice voted with Weaver and against us all, we'd have no CCW law today. But in spite of Weaver's vote against our interests, MCRGO is backing Weaver and telling our members to vote for her. Getting support for Weaver was one of Chuck Perricone's pet projects before the BOD hired him and it's no secret that he was behind this decision along with the other two hard-core partisan BOD members who sit on the PAC committee currently. David Aviles and David Felbeck are Republican Party activists first and gun people second, and misusing their positions and abusing the trust the members put in them to recommend that members support one of the people who could have set us all the way back to square one just because she's a Republican is proof that they don't belong on the PAC or the BOD. This move by Perricone, Aviles and Felbeck was shameful and the rest of the BOD knowingly assenting to it was only a little less shameful.
Bottom line is that there are a lot of problems at MCRGO right now and it's killing us as a political organization. None of the above incidents would have happened two years ago, or four years ago, but we had people running the group who knew what they were doing and who put gun rights ahead of partisan politics or competing agendas. But now MCRGO appears to be doing very little, and when they DO actually do something, they seem to be dancing to the GOP or the NRA's tune. It should make every member ask themselves why we pay dues to the current BOD just to be a potted plant for the GOP that Chuck Perricone plucks money off of while advancing his own agenda.