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September 16, 1999 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-09-16

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14A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 16, 1999


House Dems call for reform amid fraud claim

can't get


LANSING (AP) - House Democrats said
yesterday they will introduce bills this fall limit-
ing soft money contributions and requiring most
candidates to file campaign finance reports elec-
Bill sponsors said the measures would give
special interest groups less influence and make
candidates more accountable to voters who want
to know who's paying for their campaigns.
But Michigan Republican Chair Betsy DeVos
said Democrats should be following existing
laws, not writing new ones.
"It's very disingenuous to talk about campaign
finance on one hand when they can't obey the
laws on the other," she said.
DeVos said the Michigan Democratic Party
may have violated the federal postal code during
1998 by mailing campaign literature for candi-
dates at the party's lower rate of roughly 10 cents
per piece, rather than having candidates do the
mailings themselves at the bulk mail rate of
roughly 25 cents per piece.
Eric Doster, general counsel to the Michigan
GOP, said the postal code says political mailings
may not be made at the partisan non-profit mail
rate if a political candidate:
--Helps the political committee prepare or
mail the materials;
-Pays any of the costs of preparation or mail-
ing: or

-Provides any consideration to the committee
in return for the mailing.
"The law in this matter is very clear," Doster
Michigan Democratic Chair Mark Brewer said
the party didn't break any laws or codes by mail-
ing out literature promoting Democratic candi-
He said the mailings probably were made at the
party's low, nonprofit rate, but were clearly iden-
tified by the party's disclaimer and address as
coming from the party, not the candidate.
"They're playing semantical games here,"
Brewer said of the Republicans. "They're our
mailings. They're about candidates, no doubt, but
they're our literature. Both parties do a lot of
campaigning on behalf of all kinds of candi-.
He added that Republicans have been embar-
rassed by their own campaign violations and are
trying to distract attention away from the
Democratic campaign reforms rolled out yester-
"They've had FEC (Federal Election
Commission) audits that found a million dollars
over a two-year period taken in by the state
Republican Party in illegal, unitemized contribu-
tions," he said.
But DeVos said it can't be purely a coincidence
that, in more than 20 instances, Democratic can-

"Logic would tell you there is much more to
this than wanting to be nice to the Democratic
- Betsy DeVos
Michigan Republican Chair

didates made contributions of $1,000 or more to
the Democratic State Central Committee to have
the DSCC turn around and spend like amounts on
"Logic would tell you there is much more to
this than wanting to be nice to the Democratic
Party or wanting to put money into their coffers,"
she said, noting the maneuver may have helped
Democratic candidates avoid paying more than
$100,000 in postage.
"Every document we have been able to obtain
points to the Democrats engaging in mail fraud."
Republicans say the biggest contribution made
to the DSCC and later used for mailings came
from Barbara Roberts Mason, a Democratic
member of the State Board of Education who lost
her re-election bid last year. The donation totaled
She said a lot of mailings on her behalf were
handled by a committee during the campaign.

Nothing was done without the party's approval,
she added.
The Michigan GOP has asked U.S. Postmaster
William Henderson to open an immediate inves-
tigation into the mailings. The party also has filed
a federal Freedom of Information Act request to
obtain the postal statement the parties must file
with each mailing. An earlier request for the
statements was denied.
Penalties for violating the law could include up
to five years in jail and a fine up to $10,000,
according to Republicans. In addition, violators
can be charged a civil penalty of up to $5,000 and
assessed twice the amount of any improper mail-
Brewer isn't worried. "There's no problem," he
said. "We can get input and we can get advice
from the candidates (on mailings) as long as in
the end, the state party chair or the state party
makes the call."

BIRCH RUN, Mich. (AP) - Vic
Dee Hrinik may be a man now, but
he will remain a girl on his high
school records.
A judge has refused to order the
Birch Run Area Schools to change
the name and sex on the transcript
for the former Vicki Hrinik.
As Vicki, Hrinik graduated .fro
Birch Run High School in 1983.
asked the district to change his
school records to reflect his new
name and sex, and he sued in June
1998 when it refused.
Saginaw County Circuit Judge
Leopold Borrello dismissed the suit,
filed under the Americans With
Disabilities Act.
"A transcript is a record of who
you are and what you did while yc
were in school," Superintende'
Richard Ramsey told The Saginaw
News. "If who you are changed after
you left school, I don't think you
can change the record."
The Board of Education voted
against the change last summer, say-
ing it did not want to set a prece-
Doctors have diagnosed Hrinik
with a hormonal imbalance leadin
to "gender dysphoria," an identi
disorder, said his attorney, Rudy
Serra. The lawyer contended that
the Americans with Disabilities Act
covers Hrinik's condition.
Hrinik referred to himself as a
transsexual "on more than one occa-
sion," and the act excludes the con-
dition, Borrello said in his Aug. i3
Hrinik also maintained that a
inability to produce sperm is ,.
handicap covered by the Michigan
Persons with Disabilities Civil
Rights Act, but Borrello again dis-
"If such a condition were a dis-
ability, then all women would b.
considered handicapped," Borrell4
Hrinik married five years ag rd
has a 13-year-old stepson. They ljV
in Spokane, Wash.
He declined comment on the rul-
ing. He sued because the district
was hindering his pursuit of higher
education, Serra said. Hrinik sought
the document to apply to communi-
ty college.
But the judge ruled that there was
no indication that a college refused
to enroll Hrinik because his tran-
script reflected a different gende
"The court finds that the fails.
to further plaintiff Vie's education is
of his own doing," Borrello wrote.
The Birch Run schools did renew
the offer they made before Hrinik
sued, saying they will leave the
male/female box blank on Hrinik's
transcript and replace the "Vicki"
with a "V."
"To the credit of the defendants,
they've responded in the best way
they could," Serra told the paper.
still think they could give Vic a trMF
script that does not contain obsolete
information, (but) Vic is going to
try to get on with his life."


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