Two years ago, Michigan voters went to the polls and approved a constitutional amendment to change the way our state handles redistricting.

Voters opted to give redistricting responsibility to something called an “Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission.” According to the rules voters agreed to, the commission would be led by Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, and it would be designed to function independently of partisan political interests.

A new hire being considered by the commission, though, would strip the “independence” from the group and mire it in far-left partisan politics.

The Michigan Freedom Fund has learned the commission is considering James Lancaster as one of the two finalists for the role of General Counsel for the Commission. The General Counsel is essentially the group’s lawyer, and top legal advisor. It’s a position with incredible influence and power.

Mr. Lancaster, though, is no independent. He has a long history of political contributions to Democrats and Democrat causes. These contributions are a matter of public record through the state’s Bureau of Elections and the Federal Election Commission websites.

Mr. Lancaster’s obvious political leanings would grossly undermine the objectivity and the mission of the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission.

It would also fly in the face of recent commission precedent.

When the group was choosing an executive director, a number of candidates for the job had mild ties to the Republican Party. Commissioners themselves ably pointed out important concerns over even the perception of partisanship in the Independent Commission’s work and publicly opposed the hiring of individuals with ties to partisan politics.

Mr. Lancaster’s partisan history favoring Democrats is far more explicit and frequent than the Republican candidates for another job previously criticized by the commission.

The Michigan Freedom Fund has strongly urged the commission to reject Mr. Lancaster’s appointment as general counsel and to select a different, truly non-partisan candidate. If you’d like to add your voice to this opposition – and we encourage you to do so! – please click HERE or email them directly at and let them know you’re watching their efforts.

Michigan residents who sought to establish an independent redistricting commission are watching.


Tony Daunt
Executive Director
Michigan Freedom Fund