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Benson won't testify in front of House Committee hearing, says it's 'wounding our democracy'

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Posted at 2:53 PM, Dec 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-16 14:53:11-05

(WXYZ) — Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said Wednesday will not testify in front of a State House Oversight Committee hearing on the 2020 general election.

Related: Michigan lawmakers subpoena Detroit, Livonia city clerks over election concerns

Benson sent a letter to Committee Chair Rep. Matt Hall saying the hearings are “amplifying already debunked conspiracy theories and previously disproven claims of people who lack basic knowledge of election administration, and in doing so undermining the integrity of the election and wounding our democracy.”

She also cited the committee allowing President Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani, without naming him, to speak and question witnesses last month, where he gave false allegations of election fraud in the state.

"That individual proceeded to spout false and baseless accusations against Michigan public servants - including more than 1,600 election clerks and tens of thousands of election workers. He called Wayne County’s chief judge, a Republican appointee, a 'hack' and suggested various individuals should be prosecuted based on zero evidence of wrongdoing," she wrote.

Hall released a statement on Wednesday saying that Benson was flip-flopping and hiding from the committee.

“This is about people, not politics. The electoral votes for Michigan have been submitted. But people in Michigan still have questions about their state’s elections and those questions deserve answers. I fear we are headed for more distrust in the future if people are denied clarity and transparency from officials who head up the process," he said.

President-elect Joe Biden won Michigan by more than 150,000 votes, and those votes were then certified by the Michigan Board of State Canvassers. On Monday, the Electoral College electors gathered in Lansing to vote for Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

You can read Benson's entire letter below, and Hall's full statement below.
Benson won't testify in front of House Committee hearing, says its 'wounding our democracy' by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit on Scribd

Rep. Hall statement

“Secretary of State Benson said she would be willing to testify before the people’s representatives when it made a good talking point for her and got her good press. But when the rubber met the road and it came time to answer questions about her work, she refused to take questions. Benson’s flip-flop makes it clear she would rather hide under a rock than help the people of Michigan build trust in their state’s election process going forward.

“Legislators are hearing those concerns, and we are taking action to address them. But this needs to be a collaborative effort to deliver trust. The House and Senate Oversight Committees have previously heard testimony from multiple county clerks from both parties on what they saw and what can be done to better Michigan’s election system in the future – and those conversations and ideas were extremely constructive and helpful.

“Our committee would like to have similar discussions with Secretary of State Benson, and I am disappointed she is brushing aside that opportunity while making excuses and playing cheap political games.

“This is about people, not politics. The electoral votes for Michigan have been submitted. But people in Michigan still have questions about their state’s elections and those questions deserve answers. I fear we are headed for more distrust in the future if people are denied clarity and transparency from officials who head up the process.”