Congresswoman Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) is leasing a home in Lansing owned by a medical manufacturing firm executive and donor to her congressional campaign.
According to MLive.com, the home in question is owned by Jerry Hollister, director of government relations for Niowave, Inc., a Lansing-based business which manufactures medical radioisotopes. Hollister has also donated a total of $1,850 to Slotkin’s campaign in small amounts since her first run for Congress in 2018.
Slotkin moved to Lansing to compete in the newly-drawn 7th Congressional District that centers around Lansing and includes all of Livingston County.
The campaign for Slotkin’s opponent, state Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte), has used the report to criticize the arrangement.
Jason Roe, a strategist with the Barrett campaign, pointed to a December 2020 letter sent to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) that was signed by Slotkin and a group of bipartisan lawmakers – including Congressman John Moolenaar (R-Midland) – which commends the NNSA for its molybdenum-99 program. However, the letter makes no mention of Niowave or any other companies.
About a year after the letter was sent, Niowave received a contract for $13 million to support the commercial production of molybdenum-99, which was labeled by the U.S. Department of Energy as a “critical medical isotope.”
Roe said that even though Niowave wasn’t explicitly mentioned in the letter, the company still benefitted.
“Certainly, from an optics standpoint – there’s probably 400,000 residents in the 7th Congressional district,” Roe told MLive. “The idea that the only one she could find was one owned by a lobbyist that she had a relationship with doesn’t look great. … She holds herself up as this do-gooder centrist, but I would say her behavior shows the hubris of many politicians.”
Roe Strategic was recently accused of being part of an illegal shift of campaign funds by Barrett from his state Senate campaign committee to his federal congressional campaign. Roe has denied the transfer was illegal.
MLive reports Slotkin has a 7-month lease, at $2,000 a month, which began on April 15 and is set to expire Nov. 15, a week after the midterm election.
Her campaign says the Congresswoman is paying rent at fair market value and that she has always planned to purchase a home near the Lansing area after the lease expires.
Lynsey Mukomel, spokesperson for the Slotkin campaign, said in a statement that Slotkin has “never done anything in Congress that inappropriately benefits” Hollister’s company.
“This is nothing more than an attempt by Tom Barrett’s weak campaign to distract from his five votes to block thousands of jobs at a new GM plant in his own backyard, his opposition to the bipartisan CHIPS Act and his failed attempt to cover up his dangerous position to ban all abortions in Michigan, even in instances of rape or incest,” she said.
Hollister has also indicated that he is currently considering filing a libel suit against claims he has ever lived with Slotkin since she first leased the property to her.
“Not only her campaign is getting smeared, but my reputation can be affected, which could affect my consulting opportunities,” he told MLive.