Two snowmobilers recall being stranded
ONTONAGON — A Minnesota father and his adult son said they walked in waist-deep snow to stay warm when they were stranded overnight in a blizzard and sub-zero temperatures while snowmobiling in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Searchers found 40-year-old Benjamin Jenney Sr. and 19-year-old Benjamin Jenney Jr. on Monday afternoon in Ontonagon County, Michigan State Police said. The site is near the Porcupine Mountains State Park and the Jenneys had no survival gear.
The Albertville, Minn., men had been at their family cabin in the area, and they had planned a typical weekend of snowmobiling. They told WLUC-TV that they decided to snowmobile off a trail, however, and got stuck.
A team of state Department of Natural Resources staff spotted the Jenneys about two miles inland from Lake Superior.
They had symptoms of hypothermia and dehydration, but were reported to be in overall good condition. Benjamin Jenney Sr. had some muscle tissue damage in his legs and his son had minor frostbite on his toes.
Fundraiser gets probation for tax crime
DETROIT — A political fundraiser who pulled cash from her bra as kickbacks to then-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to probation Thursday for tax evasion.
U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds said Emma Bell was courageous for testifying against Kilpatrick, whom she considered a son.
Bell’s entanglement in Kilpatrick’s schemes was “unfortunate but understandable,” Edmunds said.
Bell, 70, was a fundraiser for Kilpatrick’s mayoral campaigns as well as a nonprofit fund that the government said he abused. She was paid a percentage of what she raised but told jurors that she was forced to give him more than $200,000 in cash for his own use.
Terri Land accused of coordinating with PACs
LANSING — Michigan Democrats on Thursday asked for an investigation into whether Republican U.S. Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land illegally coordinated with outside groups that have attacked her likely opponent, Democrat Gary Peters, in political ads.
The state Democratic Party filed a complaint against Land with the Federal Election Commission. It said further investigation is warranted to determine if her campaign committee requested or suggested that super PACS or other groups run the ads.
At a Republican event in August outside Traverse City, Land hinted at possibly communicating with super PACs — which is not illegal — but also said the groups were “committed” to the Michigan race.
Super PACs can raise and spend unlimited funds to help candidates but cannot explicitly coordinate expenditures or strategy with a campaign, though enforcement is rare. Candidates can communicate with super PACS and can appear at their fundraisers but not personally solicit unlimited funds.
Land, a former two-term secretary of state, told the Republican Women of Leelanau County that the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling changed the dynamics in elections by restricting political parties but letting individuals and other groups raise money. She said her campaign had “talked to a lot of those folks. They’re committed to Michigan.”
“That’s enough for the FEC to investigate here,” Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Lon Johnson told reporters. “We want to know what discussions were had from her campaign, from her or from her staff and with whom and which organizations.”
Land spokeswoman Heather Swift said Land was referring to donors, not specific organizations, in her remarks. She called the allegations “false and offensive.”
“The fact is there has been no coordination,” Swift said.
A new video surfaced, however, of Land telling some supporters at a Macomb County GOP event in July that she had been contacted by specific super PACs such as ShePAC, which is devoted to electing conservative women. While it is not illegal to talk to the PACs along as there is no coordination, Democrats said her campaign cannot get its story straight.
“Behind closed doors RNC Committeewoman Terri Land is bragging about coordinating with special interest super PACs, and now she thinks Michiganders will accept her lies,” said state Democratic Party spokesman Josh Pugh.
The conservative organization Americans for Prosperity — which is not a super PAC and instead a “social welfare” organization under section 501(c)(4) of the federal tax code — recently rolled out nearly $1 million worth of TV and radio ads criticizing Peters, a third-term congressman, over his support for the federal health law, including his claim that people could keep their current plan.
In the fall, a super PAC founded by a Saginaw-area businessman — the Pure PAC — spent about $122,000 on negative ads against Peters, according to political money-tracking website OpenSecrets.org.
The Land campaign’s attorney, Charlie Spies, who created the super PAC devoted to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential bid, said Land has “introduced herself to individuals and groups across Michigan who are dedicated to restoring health care to 225,000 Michiganders who lost coverage due to Gary Peters’ lie.”