GOP Says Dem. Contractor Outsourcing Work
KATHY BARKS HOFFMAN, Associated Press
LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Republican Party alleged Tuesday that a contractor for the state Democratic Party is outsourcing work to India as he checks the validity of petition signatures for presidential candidate Ralph Nader.
Republicans said Mark Grebner, of Practical Political Consulting in East Lansing, has sent digital copies of Nader’s petitions to a data entry firm in India. Grebner declined to comment on the allegation.
But Greg McNeilly, executive director of the state GOP, called the move hypocritical.
“Michigan Democrats are so intolerant of minority perspectives at the ballot box that they’ll outsource Michigan jobs in order to protect a two-party duopoly,” he said in a statement. “They are paying a firm in India for work that could be done by Michiganders.”
The state Democratic Party did not respond to a request for comment on the accusation, but says state Republicans deserve criticism for collecting 43,000 of the 50,000 signatures that may help Nader get on the state ballot. They say the GOP is helping Nader because it thinks he can take votes away from Democrat John Kerry.
At least 30,000 of the signatures must be valid to get Nader on the ballot. Challenges are due by Thursday afternoon.
State Democratic Executive Chairman Mark Brewer has said the party is checking every signature, and it turned to Grebner to help meet Thursday’s deadline.
Grebner said he has used foreign workers in the past in countries such as Bangladesh for work that can’t be done by his U.S. staff of about 15 full-time workers. That includes work for Republicans as well as for Democrats, he added.
“This really is work that you can’t do in the (United States) because it just doesn’t make economic sense,” Grebner said of the work he sends overseas. “I can’t hire people to do some things here.”