State Rep. Hank Vaupel, one of eight Michigan legislators to sign onto a letter from the controversial American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) organization calling for confirmation of embattled Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, did so in August, before sexual assault allegations surfaced about the justice.
“I would not have signed the letter had I known of the allegations,” Vaupel said.
The date of the letter isn’t evident on the ALEC website, but according to The Hill, a letter signed by 308 state lawmakers was sent to U.S. senators on Aug. 24, 2018, before allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh surfaced. The initial letter by ALEC of Aug. 24, 2018, was signed by 308 state legislators; on the ALEC website, the letter has currently been signed by 420 state legislators as of Sept. 30, 2018.
“Judge Kavanaugh’s commitment to his community, to mentorship and statesmanship, is unrivaled among American jurists,” said the ALEC Action letter. “There is no attribute of Judge Kavanaugh’s character, intellect or life of public service that should preclude his immediate installment to the Supreme Court of the United States.”
You can read the letter by clicking here.
“If the allegations are true, even though this goes back a ways, it would reflect on character, and in that case, I’d have to do a complete reexamination of the whole thing,” Vaupel said. “Everyone is entitled to due process, both the accused and the accuser. And when allegations come up, they have to be investigated.”
Another Michigan legislator who signed the letter before Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault is state Rep. Triston Cole; the Mancelona Republican released a statement on Friday, Sept. 28, 2018, supporting further investigation into the matter.
“I am disheartened by the allegations of wrongdoing directed toward (Kavanaugh),” Cole’s statement reads. “In recent news, a letter penned by the American Legislative Exchange Council … has become a topic of conservation. I would like to first clarify that the request and acknowledgement to sign this document took place in August before any of the accusations were made public.
“As the father of three lovely daughters, I believe that an investigation into the accusations is a reasonable request. It is important that I teach my daughters that their voices be heard. I look forward to the U.S. Senate continuing their investigation process, and upholding our fundamental belief in due process. I would also like to urge women to speak up if injured in some way by contacting their local law enforcement and not waiting.”
ALEC is sometimes called a “bill mill,” which drafts and promotes legislation at the state level across the U.S., including work on Stand Your Ground and Voter ID bills. ALEC also opposes Obamacare, and doesn’t believe in global climate change. Some of its biggest members have left the organization since 2011 over disagreements on policy, including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, Kraft, Johnson & Johnson, McDonalds, Walmart, Amazon, Bank of America, General Motors, Visa, Sprint, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, eBay, BP, T-Mobile, ExxonMobil, and Verizon.
In addition to Vaupel and Cole, other Michigan legislators signing the ALEC letter are state Senators Darwin Booher, R-Evart; Dave Hildenbrand, R-Grand Rapids; Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township; and Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge; as well as Michigan state Reps. Peter Lucido, R-Washington Township; and Michael Webber, R-Rochester Hills.
On Sept. 26, 2018, Vaupel — along with state Reps. Lana Theis, R-Brighton Township, and Jim Runestad, R-White Lake — introduced legislation calling for the impeachment of embattled Livingston County District Judge Theresa Brennan for a “troubling pattern of improper conduct (that) has resulted in her losing the trust and confidence of her colleagues and the public.”
Brennan is also under investigation by the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission after information surfaced showing she was having an affair with Michigan State Police detective Sean Furlong during a murder trial of a case on which he was the lead investigator and she was presiding.
Earlier this year, Vaupel was one of only 11 members of the Michigan House to vote against a resolution calling for Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon to step down or be fired in the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal. You can read about that by clicking here.