Karamo’s MIGOP faction takes legal action, as opposition is set to name a new chair on Saturday ⋆

Dueling MIGOP Chairs Kristina Karamo and Malinda Pego continued their skirmish as Pego’s faction plans for a vote to replace Karamo on Saturday in Lansing. 

At a meeting on Jan. 6, members of the party voted to remove Kristina Karamo as chair of the party alongside the party’s general counsel, Dan Hartman. However, Karamo says she is still chair, claiming the meeting to remove her was invalid and did not comply with the party’s bylaws. 

Following the Jan. 6 meeting, Pego, who says she is the party’s acting chair, and her group have used a separate website and email for communications, releasing conflicting statements to those sent out by Karamo’s party. 

Malinda Pego | Muskegon County photo

Although Pego sent out communications canceling a Jan. 13 meeting initially scheduled by Karamo, Karamo and her supporters met in Houghton Lake. They held votes to invalidate the Jan. 6 meeting, preserve Karamo as chair, and to remove Pego, as well as a number of other state committee members, from the party and ban them from associating with the Republican Party for five years. 

In a statement, Pego said the business conducted at the Jan. 13 meeting was a “direct violation of the party bylaws” and guide for procedure. In another statement Pego said the votes held at the meeting hold no merit, and that an official meeting had been called for Jan. 20 to select a new chair of the party. 

Additionally, three of the party’s six vice chairs and nine of its 13 district chairs signed on to a statement recognizing the Jan. 6 meeting as legitimate and Pego as the acting chair. 

Many of the district chairs who signed the statement also signed on to a letter calling on Karamo to resign. 

Since Saturday’s meeting, Oakland County Republican Party Chair Vance Patrick has released a statement announcing his bid to be the party’s chair. 

“We must now elect a Chair that will work to unify the party, offer transparency, and build the infrastructure needed to win this November. My record as Chair of the Oakland County Republican Party speaks for itself. Under my leadership, we’ve unified and empowered the grassroots in the county and given our candidates the tools and resources needed to win,” Patrick said.

While Pego’s party did not respond to multiple emails from the Advance asking for a list of candidates, former Ambassador and U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Holland) and former 2018 congressional candidate Lena Epstein have also been floated as potential candidates. 

Save Michigan is an organization that has circulated emails criticizing Karamo. It shares a name, but appears to be separate from the political action committee founded by Michael Markey, an entrepreneur and candidate for Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District. A Save Michigan email listed Patrick, Hoekstra and Epstein as the current list of chair candidates as of Jan. 13.  

According to a post on X from Robert Morris Owens, the communications director for Karamo’s party, Patrick, Epstein, Pego and Hoekstra, were sent cease and desist letters on Thursday. State committee members Bree Moeggenberg, Tim Ross, Daniel Lawless, District Chairs Andy Sebolt, Anne Delisle, JD Glaser, and former Republican attorney general nominee Matt DePerno were also sent letters. 

@MIGOP issues Cease & Desist letters today to Peter Hoekstra, Vance Patrick, Lena Epstein, Malinda Pego, Andy Seabolt, Bree Moeggenberg, Tim Ross, Anne Delisle, JD Glaser, Daniel Lawless & Matt DePerno. @CraigDMauger@jonathanoosting@DavidEggert00@Simon_Schuster@JrnDavidson

— R. Morris Owens (@MoeOwensJD) January 18, 2024

At the Jan. 13 meeting, Moeggenberg, Ross, Lawless, Sebolt, Delisle and Glaser were the members removed from their positions. 

According to an article by Gongwer, the letters were signed by Karamo; the executive director of Karamo’s MIGOP, James Copas; and Hartman, and accuse the listed individuals of trademark infringement, defamation of character and copyright infringement.

In another post, Owens said former state Rep. Sue Allor, who signed on to the statements opposing Karamo, was removed on Thursday by members of the party’s first district committee. 

Meanwhile, the Michigan GOP is facing further scrutiny on the state of its finances. 

According to a report from the Detroit News, Hartman received a letter from the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), the campaign arm of U.S. House Republicans,  expressing concerns at the party’s management of funds. 

MIGOP infighting rages on, even as members vote in Houghton Lake to retain Karamo as chair

“I will not deny that we are growing increasingly alarmed by reports that the MIGOP is in dire financial straits and grossly mismanaging their limited funds,” Erin Clark, general counsel for the committee wrote in a letter to Hartman obtained by the News later writing 

Warren Carpenter, a former district chair for the party, sponsored a report released in December which claimed the party had amassed nearly $620,000 in debt under Karamo’s leadership, including a $500,000 line of credit owed to Comerica Bank.

In a Q&A session with party members on Jan. 8, Karamo said she’d inherited the debt from the party’s previous administration.

While the state party has sought to sell its former headquarters building in Lansing to pay off that debt, the effort has resulted in a legal dispute with the trust that owns the property. 

authored by Kyle Davidson
First published at https%3A%2F%2Fmichiganadvance.com%2F2024%2F01%2F19%2Fkaramos-migop-faction-takes-legal-action-as-opposition-is-set-to-name-a-new-chair-on-saturday%2F

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