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In wake of U.S. Capitol attack, Michigan business group rethinks political spending

Arguably, the most powerful pro-business-advocacy group in the state is the Detroit Regional Chamber. They have announced that they’re changing the way it handles political contributions in light of the insurrection at the United States Capitol. Dozens of Republican lawmakers, including some from Michigan, voted in favor of rejecting election results that same day on January 6.

It is common for pro-business groups to be supportive of pro-business Republican candidates, but now the head of the Detroit Regional Chamber says there’s more to consider than just stances on taxes or strategic investment.

Sandy Baruah is the president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber. He emphasized that while he was not active in the organization’s policial action commitee (PAC) and its decision-making, he supports the PAC members’ judgment and believes that it is in the best interest of the PAC to do this.

“The most important business policy out there is the policy of stability. It’s the policy of predictability,” Baruah said.

Baruah explained that the insurrection at the Capitol was the result of politicians supporting and disseminating false information about the election. He added that it was an attack on federalism, typically embraced by Republicans.

“One of the things that Republicans have always stood for, and as I think is famously known… that federalism— the idea that states have the ability to experiment— but most importantly that we don’t have national elections in the United States of America. We have fifty state elections, and it is the states that run elections, it is the states that certify the elections. And by the action of some, they were trying to nationalize the election, and that is a grave strike against Federalism. And I know the PAC members were very concerned about that, and I certainly share that concern,” Baruah said.

The Detroit Region of Chamber will not retroactively unendorse the politicians for the 2020 election cycle. But, Baruah said that the PAC denounces the behavior of the politicians who supported conspiracy theories and/or voted in favor of rejecting the election results. These behaviors will be taken into account when deciding who to endorse in the following election years.

“Will that mean that those members that acted that way will never get an endorsement from the Detroit Regional Chamber? I cannot say that, and I would doubt that even the members of our PAC know the answer to that question. I just know that they consider this serious and they wanted to make a statement and wanted to go on the record because of it,” Baruah said.

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