Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Possible State Superintendent Whiston Addresses Lobbyist Expenditures To MIRS After WMP Article

By Brandon Hall
(Email him at

After the WMP piece on Dearborn Public Schools Sup. Brian Whiston's work as a lobbyist, MIRS caught up with Whiston,one of the finalists in the race for State Superintendent to replace a retiring Mike Flanagan.

>>>Turn Down For What!? M.E.A. Backed State Superintendent Candidate Used Taxpayer Money For Lavish Dinners And Drinking In D.C., Golf In Cali

The State Board of Education meets Wednesday and could announce its choice at that time. Whiston is rumored to be a strong favorite.

Here is a small excerpt of the MIRS piece:

"The expense reports of former lobbyist Brian WHISTON from more than 10 years ago have surfaced again this week as Whiston is under consideration as a state superintendent candidate...

West Michigan Politics recently revisited the 2003 Free Press report. Other observers of the state superintendent search have privately highlighted Whiston's expense reports as he's considered for the state superintendent job, along with two other finalists...

 Whiston, in an interview today, said his expense reports were legal and legitimate and reflected what lobbyists have to do.

“It is what a lobbyist does in Lansing, lobbyists take people out to breakfast, lunch and dinner, it's part of the process,” he said.

Whiston, as he did in the 2003 Free Press article, took responsibility for some of his choices.

“Now I will agree that some of my expenses, some of the meals themselves, were too expensive . . . I learned my lesson, and we moved forward from that,” he said, adding that what he spent in a year paled in comparison to what a large lobbying firm spent in a month.

When asked if the expense report spending undermines his viability as a state superintendent candidate, Whiston disagreed.

“I don't think it was inappropriate in any way,” he said. "

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

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