State GOP staffers take secret video of CMU prof's campaign

Susan Grettenberger isn't surprised Michigan Republicans showed up at the press conference announcing her candidacy. But she was surprised when footage they took showed up Tuesday on YouTube.

The Detroit News reported Michigan GOP staffers used a hidden camera to record several Democratic events. One of those events was a fundraising event at a private Bloomfield Hills home for gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer. A July 16 story reported Schauer's campaign and the Oakland County Democrats obtained a "tiny disk" containing raw video footage shot two college-aged Republican staffers.

Grettenberger's event was also on the disk. She said she was not aware she was being recorded at the Feb. 26 press conference in Lansing. The Central Michigan University Social Work Program Director is running for the U.S. House in Michigan's eighth district.

"The whole idea of being spied on is kind of bizarre," Grettenberger told Central Michigan Life after video of her answering questions at the  press conference was released Tuesday.

On the video two women asked Grettenberger about her stance on the Affordable Care Act. One identified herself as a CMU student and the other as a Michigan State University student.

Grettenberger said she remembers being asked this question because the issue hit close to home. She has four adopted children ages 24 to 26  years old. Under the ACA, her children can be covered through her insurance until they are 26.

"My kids have health insurance because of (the Affordable Care Act)," she said. "None of them have benefits (through work.) This allows them to have benefits. I thought it was an interesting question for someone who put themselves out there as a student. There are a lot of students who get sick, and they can't get medicine because they can't go to a doctor. The Obama program made it possible for people to get that."

Privacy is something Grettenberger said she knew she would have to give up for the chance to run for Congress. She said it was a fair trade to make to get the chance to be elected so she can fight for others' rights.

"People will violate your privacy," Grettenberger said. "People will try to find something they can twist, take out of context, something on you that they can turn into 'you're a bad person' and take to the public. I had to think if I was ready for that."

Darren Littell, the communications director of the Michigan Republican Party, defended the recordings.

"Republicans do it; Democrats do it," Littell told The Detroit News. "People use different ways to get the footage. ... This is a newer approach."

Grettenberger said she understands wanting to "scout" the competition to see what they're planning. However, she said she wouldn't use this tactic in her campaign.

"I think it's a sad commentary," she said. "I think it's not the way we ought to do things."

Calls to the Michigan GOP for comment were not immediately returned.

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