“Follow the Money”: Michigan’s GOP AG Primary Erupted Last Night

March 25, 2022

Candidates Trade Accusations, Insults over Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars, Ties to Disgraced Former Speaker During Fiery Debate

Washington, DC – The Michigan GOP primary for Attorney General has been heating up for months – and last night it boiled over into a toxic sea of accusations and insults over hundreds of thousands of dollars linked to the top two candidates.

The Detroit News’ Craig Mauger highlighted the bitter fight between Matt DePerno, Donald Trump’s endorsed candidate, and Tom Leonard, who has been linked to former Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield and the investigation into Chatfield’s finances:

“Former Michigan House Speaker Tom Leonard has called on lawyer Matt DePerno to detail what happened with about $400,000 he raised through an “Election Fraud Defense Fund” as he pursued claims of wrongdoing in the 2020 presidential vote.

“As of July 26, 2021, a web page for the fund, which asked donors to make checks payable to DePerno, reported having collected $389,050. The fund was established by DePerno “to defend and to protect the integrity of elections in the United States,” according to the page.

“Matthew DePerno showed up the day after the election, using our president’s name, taking nearly $400,000 from every one of you,” Leonard said during the debate. “And I have had people approach me across the state, and they’ve asked me, ‘Where did that money go?‘”

DePerno fired back at Leonard, highlighting his increasingly under-scrutiny ties to former House Speaker Chatfield:

“During the debate, DePerno criticized Leonard for ties to former Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield, the Levering Republican who is under investigation after his sister-in-law accused him of sexually abusing her. Chatfield has denied wrongdoing. 

He served as the speaker immediately after Leonard, and the two are connected through political committees that exchanged contributions.

“Follow the money,” DePerno told the crowd Thursday. “If you follow the money, it will lead directly back to Lee Chatfield and the person who created him, Tom Leonard.”


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