How Pervasive is Political Corruption?

In 2019 I encountered corruption. The local farm that I get some of my food from was attacked. Hidden Creek Farm’s neighbor Ken Wentworth sued the farm on the same day as Dalton Township, under the orders of Supervisor Tony Barnes.


Not only was this unethical, but they also broke several laws. The farm is protected under the Michigan Right to Farm Act. The farm was informed the morning of their court date in an attempt to win by thwarting due process. And, the township had neither approved nor discussed this action at a meeting, which is a violation of the Michigan Open Meetings Act.

This attack was menacing enough, and hit close enough to home, that I decided it was my moral obligation and civic duty to do what I could to help protect the farm and fight my local government corruption. I now have a 14 article series called “Fighting Local Government Corruption” on JeffThinks.com.

When I started writing these articles a failed state representative by the name of Tanya Cabala attempted to get people to spread rumors so that her political rival would be investigated based on nothing. I thought it was rather odd considering the issue wasn’t related. Oh, how little I knew about the devious tactics of politicians.

I filed a police report for the Open Meetings Act violation. The state police officer tried to intimidate me into not filing it, but I insisted. The Muskegon County Prosecutor D. J. Hilson declined to follow up on a violation of the law that specifically protects transparency in Michigan politics.

I then filed a recall on Tony Barnes for violating the Open Meetings Act. The Muskegon County Election Commission is composed of County Clerk Nancy Waters, Probate Judge Gregory Pittman, and County Treasurer Tony Moulatsiotis. They oversaw the clarity hearing to determine whether I would be allowed to do the petition. My wording was “deemed not clear but factual.” Meaning they would not let me start the petition.

I filed another recall on Tony Barnes based on him lying. He explicitly stated to dozens of people that called the township that the township was not suing the farm. It’s an odd lie since you can look up active lawsuits on the Muskegon County website. But, an effective and devious little ploy, because I have met a number of people that believed his lies. The farm ended up publicly posting the full lawsuit to prove Tony Barnes was lying.

The Election Commission decided against that application in both clarity and factuality. In doing so they directly violated the 2018 Michigan Court of Appeals finding in Hooker v Moore.

I was astounded by these layers of corruption, one on top of the other. How do you break through such an intricately woven web of politicians and officials that protect each other’s ethical and legal violations? That’s a question I hope to answer in 2020, because in 2019 I learned that the answer to, “How pervasive is political corruption?” is - “Very.”

At some point in all of this I noticed something. All of these politicians are Democrats. An odd coincidence.

I’m not usually involved in politics, but this series of incidents made me start paying attention. I was amazed when I saw Joe Biden bragging in an interview about how he withheld funds from the Ukraine until they fired the prosecutor that was investigating his son Hunter Biden for corruption. How normal does corruption have to be for a former Vice President, and a Presidential candidate, to give an interview not just admitting to being corrupt, but being expressly proud of it?

In 2019 I encountered political corruption at every level of government, from my local township, through my county and state, all the way up to the international relations of the federal government.

I’ll leave you with this. Corruption has taken hold at every level of government because good people have failed to take action. This may be because of fear of reprisals, which I have heard about in my township, or it may be from a lack of involvement and awareness like myself. Either way, it is up to the good people of our communities, our states, and our nation to make the choice to defend individual liberties and to fight corruption. It’s a duty that each generation inherits anew, and a sovereign obligation that we must each fulfill.

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Read more of Jeff's thoughts at: http://www.jeffreyalexandermartin.com/

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