News Story

10 Years Of Michigan Capitol Confidential Online

If CapCon doesn’t report it, who will?

A search for the term “dues skim” on the Michigan Capitol Confidential news site finds it appeared in more than 100 articles over the past 10 years.

That’s because the Mackinac Center’s news site reported extensively – and, at first, exclusively — on how unions and state agencies entered a deal to “unionize” home caregivers and extract “dues” from the small Medicaid stipends the receive. Many of these caregivers were friends or family members of the disabled individuals they help. But the unions claimed they were public employees because the money used to pay them came from a government program —& and state officials went along.

Until May 2019, that is, when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared that unions cannot automatically deduct union dues from home health care providers.

This one of many Michigan Capitol Confidential stories and series delivered over the past 10 years that had a real impact.

The online news site launched in February 2010. Its first story was about a Tea Party protest at the state Capitol the night of Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s annual state-of-the-state speech.

That was on Feb. 4, 2010.

The concept of nonprofit news sites was new then. One example that did exist in Michigan, the American Independent News Network’s Michigan Messenger, closed in 2011 after four years of publication.

CapCon has since been joined in this state by nonprofit news sites such as Bridge Magazine, Chalkbeat Detroit and Michigan Advance.

A mainstay of Michigan Capitol Confidential coverage has been reporting that rebuts the many false narratives related to Michigan public affairs that are uncritically repeated by the state’s mainstream media.

In January 2014, Michigan Capitol Confidential was the first news site to challenge a widely reported teacher’s union claim that then-Gov. Rick Snyder had cut $1 billion from K-12 education.

Eventually, the rest of the media caught up with the facts.

In a series of 2010 reports, Michigan Capitol Confidential exposed a voter suppression scheme uncovered by Jason Gillman and the late Chetly Zarko. CapCon revealed that former Democratic officials attempted to create a fake Tea Party political party that would place candidates on the ballot to draw votes from and weaken real Republican candidates.

Michigan Capitol Confidential’s coverage of this wrapped up in 2012 with a report that Oakland County Democratic Party official Jason Bauer had pleaded no contest to perjury and forgery charges. Bauer had notarized paperwork for eight Tea Party candidates running in the November 2010 election.

In its 10-year history, Michigan Capitol Confidential has produced more than 3,100 stories.

CapCon stories have been cited in the Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, MLive, New York Times and Washington Post, and have appeared on the national website the Drudge Report.