Gary Peters’ Hypocrisy

by Jillian Kay Melchior
Vilifying the Koch Brothers while courting Tom Steyer.

Former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land is giving Democratic Representative Gary Peters a tough challenge in the race for the state’s open Senate seat. Though the latest polls show Republican Land down five points, she’s led Peters before, and she’s out-fundraised him by nearly $1 million. It’s an important race, especially given that Michigan hasn’t elected a Republican senator in two decades. Moreover, it’s possible a Land victory could give the GOP a 51st vote in the Senate.

A high-stakes run for the money has a way of making Democrats . . . well, run for the money. But in Peters’ case, the fundraising tactics have been more than a little hypocritical, as Nolan Finley, the Detroit News’ editorial page editor, points out in his latest column.

In recent months, Peters has slammed Land for taking money from the Koch brothers. One blog on his campaign website hysterically claims: “It’s begun. The Koch Brothers have arrived in Michigan. … Now the Koch Brothers are back in our state, I need your help to show them that Michiganders will not stand for their anti-middle class agenda. Their strategy is clear: Attack me and boost my opponent.” Another states: “The Koch Brothers: out of state oil billionaires trying to buy the election for Terri Lynn Land. … If Terri Lynn Land and the Koch Brothers win—Michigan loses.”

But, Finley writes, “Now we learn that Peters has his very own billionaire buddy, and one who makes no secret about his desire to elect politicians who will vote the way he tells them.”

That billionaire is Tom Steyer, who has promised to pour $100 million in the next election cycle—with the explicit goal of pushing climate issues and preventing the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Peters tagged along to a February Steyer meeting, joined by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, five other U.S. senators, and Al Gore—and together, they walked away with $400,000 in campaign cash for various races.

In other words, Peters is slamming “out of state billionaires trying to determine our next Senator”—while taking political donations from an out-of-state billionaire trying to choose Michigan’s next Senator. Classic.

— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for National Review as a Thomas L. Rhodes Fellow for the Franklin Center.