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Schostak: Agema should have quit RNC a year ago


Some controversial Facebook posts have re-kindled the condemnation and defense of Michigan’s controversial Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema.

Agema recently re-posted an article to his Facebook page ostensibly written by a defense attorney that takes aim at African Americans. The post has since been removed, but not before an MLive columnist took a screenshot and wrote a piece about it. Agema also posted about Muslims following the terrorist attack in Paris. He says U.S. and Michigan leaders refuse to recognize that Muslims are “the enemy.”

Michigan Republican Chairman Bobby Schostak said this morning that he was unaware of the particulars of what Agema posted or re-posted, but said if they were similar to prior posts and commentaries then they were inappropriate and not helpful to the Republican cause.

“The governor has said it, and I’ve said it.  Leaders across the state have said it. Other elected officials have said it – this not the kind of dialogue that we want coming from our Republican leadership,” Schostak said.  “We get a lot of people that reach out to me and other leaders, and ask, what’s with this guy?”

Last year, Schostak, Governor Rick Snyder, and Republican National Committee Chairman Rience Priebus were among those who called on Agema to quit.  Schostak says his opinion has not changed.

“He does not represent the values of our party, of our state committee, of our national committee,” he said.

Some Republican activists have called on other party leaders and elected officials to shun Agema.

But Agema is not without his defenders, especially in the Tea Party. He is a scheduled speaker at a Tea Party gathering this coming weekend.

Agema says his words and deeds are being twisted and mischaracterized by his enemies.

Republican critics say they are powerless to do anything more than complain about Agema unless he is convicted of a crime. They say GOP rules don’t allow for a national committee member to be removed unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Agema ousted an incumbent and was elected to serve on the Republican National Committee by a state GOP convention in 2012.

Democrats took advantage of the dust-up to call on Republicans to do more to stop Agema.

“It's long past time for Republicans to stop pandering and finally take a stand against hate," said Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson said in a statement. 

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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