by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
A self-described “independent” commissioner tasked with redrawing Michigan’s political districts donated to left-wing causes and spoke at a local “progressive Democratic” group’s general meeting.
Attorney Rebecca Szetela, who applied in Oct. 2019 to serve on the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission as an independent, has contributed at least $225 to EMILY’s List, a powerful pro-abortion group that spends millions of dollars to elect Democratic candidates. Szetela also contributed to liberal candidates and causes at the state level, including multiple donations to the Southwestern Wayne Democratic Club and one to former Washington governor Christine Gregoire (D.).
Szetela in May also addressed the Progressive Democratic Women’s Caucus of Muskegon County, a group that works to “ensure that Progressive Democrats are elected to county, state, and federal offices in the upcoming elections.” …
… Independents are supposed to serve the largest single bloc on Michigan’s redistricting body, holding 5 of its 13 seats; 40 percent of those coveted positions, however, may be held by partisans. Like Szetela, 29-year-old medical student Anthony Eid publicly backed Democrats and liberal causes before applying to the board as an independent. He said he was “proud to live in a state that voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary” in 2016 and endorsed then-Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison for Democratic National Committee chairman, the Washington Free Beacon reported in August.
Both Szetela and Eid now play a crucial role in Michigan’s redistricting process, which will reshape the state’s political landscape for the next decade. To enact a new map, two independent members must vote for it, meaning Szetela and Eid could align with their Democratic colleagues to fulfill the quota. Eid in May acknowledged that commission applicants merely had to “self-identify” their partisan affiliation but said he did “not think anyone who was selected misrepresented themselves.”