The Detroit News on Steve Bieda's Lottery Complaint against the Phil Hart Democratic Club

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By Mike Martindale, 7/11/18

Warren — Democrats in Macomb County are squaring off over a complaint filed with the Michigan Lottery Bureau by a state senator who's one of 17 candidates running for the open county clerk's job.

The complaint, filed Monday by state Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren, alleges the Mount Clemens-based Philip A. Hart Democratic Club is misusing its bingo license to harm his campaign and boost one of his rivals, former state Rep. Fred Miller.

But this is no game. 

Bieda is one of six Democrats and 11 Republicans running to fill the remaining two years of the unexpired term of former Clerk Karen Spranger, who was removed by court order earlier this year. The top vote-getter in each party in the Aug. 7 primary will face off in November.

In his complaint, Bieda, a Democratic state lawmaker for 14 years, says he has been the focus of two “hit” mailers from the Philip A. Hart Club, a federal political action committee that uses its bingo license for fundraising.

“I think what they are doing to me is wrong and their use of a license is possibly illegal and needs to be looked at by authorities,” Bieda said Tuesday. “Worse, I think it's appalling they are doing this under the name of Philip A. Hart – a former Michigan Democrat who was so well respected that he was referred to as the 'conscience of the U.S. Senate."

Steve Bieda