MichMash: State Rep. Angela Witwer’s ties to PR firm under scrutiny

The Detroit News investigates State Rep. Angela Witwer financial ties with Edge Partnerships.

State Rep. Angela Witwer (D-Delta Twp.) and her close ties with Edge Partnerships are under a microscope due to the potential conflict of interests the relationship poses.

The Detroit News’ Craig Mauger sits down with Cheyna Roth to reveal the lingering questions involving the powerful state lawmaker’s financial disclosures. 

In this episode:

  • State Rep. Angela Witwer and the lack of specific details we know about her connections with Edge Partnerships
  • Witwer’s response to her lack of financial disclosure
  • 2024 Michigan Senator race

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Witwer’s contact with her old firm is concerning because of how little is known about it, Mauger said. She has claimed ownership and non-ownership of Edge Partnerships on separate occasions, listing herself as a “member” and the “resident agent” of the firm in a state filing in February 2022, and referring to herself as the “owner” of the firm in campaign finance disclosures in October.

“We do know she has maintained a close connection with her former public relations firm,” he said. “We know that all types of major interests groups in the state have been paying this public relations firm while she is in the legislature but we don’t know if that money is trickling through to Representative Witwer.”

The lack of clear lines has created confusion about the potential conflicts of interest her involvement with Edge Partnerships poses, especially in her current role as chairwoman of Michigan’s House Appropriations Committee. For instance, according to Mauger’s reporting, Edge has an ongoing contract with the Michigan Department of Education  — whose funding is set by the appropriations committee led by Witwer.

There is a connection with the film industry that is still in question as well, as both Democrats and Republicans are trying to bring back incentives to draw films productions to Michigan. Edge Partnerships is leading the push and Witwer has invited the chairman of the film industry association and her cofounder of Edge Partnerships to be her guest on the house floor during the State of the State speech.  

Witwer has been open about her relationship with Edge Partnerships for years, leading Roth to wonder why no one questioned the connection sooner. Mauger suggested it may be due to Witwer not being as well-known as other lawmakers.

“Angela Witwer is someone who in her first term in office 2019 to 2020 was a very low level member of the House Democratic caucus, which was a minority caucus at that time. Then in her second term in ‘21 and ‘22 she has risen up the ranks in the Democratic caucus but she was still in the minority,” Mauger said. “Now in 2023, this is her first year as the chairperson of the appropriations committee. Democrats are in the majority and she is one of the two [most] influential Democrats in the state house.”

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  • Hernz Laguerre
    Hernz Laguerre Jr. is a Multimedia Journalist at 101.9 WDET. He is one of the co-host for "Detroit Evening Report," one of the weekend anchors for "Weekend Edition," the producer for our political podcast, "MichMash," and reports on arts, culture and politics.