Thursday, July 9, 2015

Let's Make A Deal: Did Meekhof Make Promises To Virgil Smith To Pass #MeekhofGasTax?

Best Buds? Meekhof, left, shares a laugh last week with Virgil Smith, RIGHT, and Sen. Kowall, center

By Brandon Hall
(Email him at

Outside of tours of the Capitol for school children, almost nothing in Lansing is free, especially major votes. Almost every member has had the vote paid for by one interest or another, or they are doing a favor for another member who helped them.

That brings up a pretty big question: how did Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof get controversial State Senator Virgil Smith's vote for the #MeekhofGasTax increase passed by the Senate?  Smith has also supported Meekhof on "no-fault reform." Smith was the only Dem to vote for it, not a single other one would cross over for the $72/year tax on Michigan drivers. After all, without Smith's vote, Brian Calley is never summoned to the floor because the bill fails 18-20.

But it didn't, Meekhof got Smith. What did the Senator from Detroit receive in return? Will Meekhof use his vast power network to help the Senator get a better deal in his case? Or perhaps help with a job from one of Meekhof's corporate friends once Smith leaves the Senate, assuming that ends up happening? Maybe Meekhof is agreeing to keep the pressure off Smith to delay his resignation as long as possible?

Almost nothing in Lansing is free, the media should ask the Senate Majority Leader how he procured Smith's vote.

Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.
>>>Email him at 


Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson

1 comment:

  1. No argument from me on this one.

    Senate Democrats could only do so much (removing Sen. Smith from their Caucus and taking away his committee assignments): The rest is all up to Senate Republicans to actually expel Smith. Which they won't do so long as Smith remains a useful tool to provide the fig leaf of "bipartisanship."

    I suspect there's another reason Republicans want to keep Smith in office as long as possible -- so he can be their new "poster child for all things Detroit" when they start running ads and sending mailers to the GOP base next year.