LANSING, MI-- The following is a letter sent Monday from Senate Oversight Committee Chairman Sen. Ed McBroom to Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson concerning the committee’s open invitation to the secretary to testify before the committee:
Dear Secretary Benson,
Thank you for your response via your staff, Mr. Reames, to my invitation to have you testify before the Senate Oversight Committee in the coming weeks. His response stated that the Director of Elections, Jonathan Brater, being the individual that “directly manages” the activities we will be discussing, will be attending the hearing in your absence.
While the committee will benefit from having Director Brater there to provide details on certain aspects of managing election-related actions taken by the department, I believe it is imperative that the State’s chief election officer, ultimately elected to and charged with making the final decisions, be present as well. This is precisely why my invitation was specific to having both of you attend.
The invitation for you to speak before the committee was provided well in advance, with a commitment to openness and transparency. To be respectful of your time and ensure the hearing is productive, I even agreed to a pre-committee meeting to allow you the ability to prepare your answers in advance and to understand the objectives of the committee. Your decision to refuse our invitation, while recently testifying in front of the United States Congress on election procedures and policies, directly managed by Mr. Brater, is disappointing and perplexing.
Compounding my consternation is your apparent refusal to communicate with me, as I have made several attempts to reach out to you over the past two months, supplying my personal phone number to your staff with repeated requests that we connect. It is against my nature to make assumptions as to this failure to communicate but providing the benefit of the doubt becomes more difficult as time passes, and polite excuses become less believable.
Therefore, I again invite you to join us on Tuesday, April 20, to discuss the election and actions that were undertaken by the department and approved by you. This will allow the committee to complete its constitutional, and inherent, role of oversight on behalf of the people. We would be pleased to host Director Brater and your Chief Legal Director, Mike Brady, as well. If another date and time is required for you to attend, please provide it. I also remain willing to host a pre-committee meeting to discuss the committee meeting itself.
Senator Ed McBroom Chairman, Senate Oversight Committee