Michigan House Republicans
Rep. DeBoyer calls for select committee to investigate House colleague’s conduct
RELEASE|October 3, 2023
Contact: Jay DeBoyer

State Rep. Jay DeBoyer has co-sponsored a House Resolution calling for a special committee to investigate House Appropriations Committee Chair Angela Witwer, amidst reports of her ties to numerous clients that have benefitted from the most recent state budget.

“The chair of the House Appropriations Committee is responsible for crafting the state budget and responsibly allocating taxpayer dollars,” said DeBoyer, of Clay Township. “Having connections to a PR firm that works directly with entities that lobby and receive state tax dollars from the budget process raises serious ethical questions and breaches the public’s trust.

“In light of recent reports that suggest a pattern of unethical and corrupt behavior, it is important to gain more insight so we can uphold the integrity of this institution and take a clear stand for government transparency.”

On Sept. 5, a report by the Detroit News disclosed Witwer’s business connections involving a previously owned company, Lansing PR firm Edge Partnerships. Witwer co-founded Edge Partnerships in 2007 and was mentioned as an owner of the firm in a social media post in 2021. Some of the company’s clientele include the Michigan Department of Education, Farm Bureau Insurance and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.

Within the state budget for the fiscal year set to begin Oct. 1, $10 million in new funding was allocated to purchase surplus agricultural products to be distributed to food banks throughout the state via the Food Bank Council of Michigan, which is an Edge Partnership client. Additionally, the Department of Education became an Edge Partnership client in 2020 and was allotted nearly $650 million in the state budget.

On top of these ethical questions, a string of inconsistent statements issued by Witwer and the company regarding her involvement have raised additional concerns. Witwer has stated that since running for office, she removed herself from the operations and management of the business. But a report from the Detroit News disclosed she had filed paperwork with the state listing herself as a member. Another Detroit News story revealed that Edge Partnerships leased a luxury SUV that was confirmed to have been driven by Witwer, and the registration was renewed in February.

House Resolution 141 calls for a six-member panel evenly split with Democrats and Republicans to look into any conflict of interest. The Speaker of the House and the House Republican Leader would each designate a co-chair, and the committee’s findings and recommendations would be reported to the full House of Representatives.

The resolution was referred to the House Government Operations Committee instead of receiving support from Democrat majority.

“We need answers – and this committee would help deliver those answers,” DeBoyer said. “It’s disappointing this measure was not taken up on the House floor. Democrats will tell you they support transparency and ethics reform, but all of that gets swept under the rug when one of their own is caught up in an ethics scandal.

“As public servants, we are held to the highest standards of accountability, transparency and ethical conduct. This is not only a matter of personal ethics, it is a fundamental requirement for the effective functioning of our republic. The people of Michigan have placed their faith in us to represent their voices and concerns and it is imperative that we do so without any indication of bias or self-interest.”

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