Total Recall

In Acme Township, Michigan, the Meijer retail giant "secretly funded a plan to orchestrate last February's recall of Acme Township's elected officials, a potential violation of state campaign finance laws," reports Brian McGillivary. "Meijer paid a public relations firm at least $30,000 in a failed effort to remove Acme's board after years of zoning disputes over Meijer's plans to build a store along M-72 in Grand Traverse County. Meijer's public relations firm crafted recall language, devised election strategy, wrote campaign literature, and used local residents as figureheads in the recall." The PR firm, Seyferth, Spaulding, Tennyson Inc. of Grand Rapids, directed the campaign using front groups including Acme Taxpayers for Responsible Government and the Acme Recall Committee. "It gives me a chill, how much money they can spend to ruin other people," said Acme Clerk Dorothy Dunville, one of the public officials targeted by the company's recall campaign. T. Michael Jackson, a retired public relations professional, has filed a complaint with the Public Relations Society of America, charging that Seyferth, Spaulding, Tennyson violated the PRSA's code of ethics.