Tesla Subpoenas Communication Records Between Governor Snyder And Michigan Dealers Association



Tesla Retail Boutique

Tesla aims to learn what really does go on behind closed doors when it comes to politicians and lobbyists.

Tesla has moved forward with the necessary subpoenas to request all communications between Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, key lawmakers, the Michigan Dealers Association, and others involved in the situation banning the automaker from directly selling its vehicles in the state.


Competing Dealerships Clutter Michigan’s Major Intersections

Snyder and the other defendants are attempting to quash the subpoenas, arguing that under Michigan law the records are considered confidential.

This comes as no surprise since Michigan is ranked by the Center for Public Integrity as the least transparent and ethical state in the United States, and is one of only two states that is exempt from public records laws. Basically, anything can go down in Michigan, and the politicians aren’t required to share any of it with the public, or provide anyone documentation.

Tesla is suing Michigan because the state won’t let the carmaker sell its cars directly. Though, based on the wording of the law in Michigan, the automaker should be able to sell its cars there. That was … until one of the involved lawmakers changed a single word on a policy and didn’t tell anyone, because he didn’t have to! Tesla only realized later that the law had been changed. According to the Silicon Valley automaker:

“Neither Tesla nor the public at large even learned about the anti-Tesla prohibition until after the Legislature approved the bill.”

“This was important to the bill’s proponents, who knew that the amendment would draw significant criticism if publicized.”

“This prohibition is unconstitutional because it is a purely protectionist measure intended to insulate Michigan-based automotive dealers and manufacturers from competition, supported by no rational bases as applied to Tesla.”

The automaker’s attorney John Bursch explained:

“Under pressure from the local dealer’s lobby, the Legislature enacted a ban on Tesla’s direct-to-consumer sales model, giving local franchised dealers a state-sponsored monopoly on car sales within Michigan.”

“This ban was enacted in 24 hours, with no public notice or comment. Tesla is entitled to discovery into this secret process.”

Michigan lawmakers still point to a law from 2000 that they say is the real reason Tesla can’t operate in Michigan. But, according to the Detroit Free Press:

“That law barred vehicle manufacturers from owning, operating or controlling dealerships in Michigan but did not explicitly ban sales by a manufacturer such as Tesla, which has no dealerships.”

Senator Hune, one of the other receivers of a subpoena, is said to be the person that introduced the 11th hour language that made Tesla’s direct sales platform illegal in the state. He simply removed the word “its” from a single sentence making it read “franchised dealerships” instead of “its franchised dealerships.” Hune’s wife is a lobbyist whose firm lobbies for auto dealerships. Neither would comment to the Detroit Free Press.

Obviously, the Hunes, Snyder, and the others involved will do everything in their power to keep the requested communications confidential. However, federal law doesn’t allow for this, especially if the electric automaker can prove that the information is necessary to make its case. Bursch wrote:

“Tesla is entitled to documents that evidence the intent and coordination that took place behind the scenes when the Legislature effectively gave franchised dealers a state-sponsored monopoly on car sales in Michigan … while engineering the legislative process to steadfastly remove any public attention or scrutiny.”

It will be interesting to see how all of this plays out on both sides. This is not the first, but rather one issue in a lengthy string of such “shady” situations involving Michigan’s Governor Snyder.

Source: Detroit Free Press

Category: Tesla

Tags: , , , , ,

24 responses to "Tesla Subpoenas Communication Records Between Governor Snyder And Michigan Dealers Association"
  1. Alan says:

    MichiPyongyangan !

    1. North Korea = Michigan!
      State Secrets = Soviet Style Government!

  2. Mister G says:

    Wait a minute…so republicans don’t believe in a free open market?

    1. Nick says:


      If you ever believed they did, their PR and marketing​ machine has been working. 🙂

      1. Mister G says:

        I stopped believing during GWB administration and the no bid defense contracts that went to Dubya and Cheney buddies to invade Iraq.

        1. SparkEV says:

          Many stopped believing when Nixon made the dollar to fiat money. Before then, many Reps thought Dems (actually, FDR) was bad for “confiscating” gold only to devalue the dollar the next day. That’s why there are socialists on both sides, Republiturds and Dumbocrats.

  3. EVA-01 says:

    I really hope Tesla takes this case to the Supreme Court and wins the right for ALL automakers in the U.S to sell direct.

    I’m getting so tired of the wrong terms being used for Tesla’s direct sales. Tesla doesn’t have dealerships, they have stores. A dealership is a 3rd party reseller. Tesla is not opening up 3rd party resellers, it is opening up it’s own stores to sell their own vehicles.

    It’s not a Tesla dealership, it’s a Tesla store.

    1. Alan says:

      Perhaps Michigan should prevent the likes of Apple from selling their products direct through their stores or anyone else for that matter.

      The more you read about it, the more daft it sounds.

      1. Sunpwrd says:

        What’s even worse is Tesla is doing about $350,000,000 in manufacturing business here in Michigan. If Michigan doesn’t want Tesla to sell here why are they taking the sales tax which is about $7,500 per/car. Mine is out of warranty now and I have had to buy brake pads and a washer pump from Cleveland. If I have major problems I can’t get it serviced in Michigan and will have to spend big bucks sending it out of state and paying parts, labor costs and taxes to a different state than my own. I also feel I suffering damages as a result because this law didn’t exist when I bought my car. The federal interstate commerce law is clearly being broken and the Federal Trade Commision is on Teslas side.

    2. Dav8or says:

      It’s not a gang, its a club!

    3. philip d says:

      And to make matters worse Tesla isn’t a car company. They are Tesla, Inc. who makes energy products those of which are stationary electric storage products (batteries), electric production products (solar pv systems) and electric transportation products (EVs) that are all designed to work together.

      So forcing them to work within the legal framework of a century old franchise agreement between plain old automakers and 3rd party sellers makes no sense.

      Now if for the last 100 years autodealers were selling residential oil rigs, garage refineries and home power generators to run this fuel on along with cars that would also run on this fuel they might have a case even though it would still be a weak one.

  4. KevinZ says:

    Trying to stop an American company that employs American workers, shame on them. Wait til Trump hears about this!

  5. ffbj says:

    Isn’t it amazing how omitting a word completely changes the meaning.
    Like 3 letters can change a word from honest to dishonest.

    1. Alan says:

      I like that !

  6. MM says:

    The top donors to Rick Snyder are the Koch brothers. Musk is a threat to their profits. I’m wishing for a long extensive trial that would remind people of the chain of events that led to the poisoning of the people of Flint.

    1. pjwood1 says:

      Musk retweeted this pearl, yesterday:

      If you go over to Breitbart, it’s as if George Soros is personally at every meeting of what Democrats will eat for lunch. Meanwhile, this financed political hacking from the Right has become a backstory. These guys believe in “Liberty”?

      OK, going off-reservation, but if you look at the stark contrast of Republican “elder statesmen”, or what veteran Republican EPA Administrators say versus what elected (seeking re-election) Republicans say, you’ll see the contrast Koch money brings to Republican politics.

  7. G2 says:

    Corporate Crony Capitalism at its finest.

    1. SparkEV says:

      The finest crony Capitalism was the National Socialism of early-mid 20th century Germany. They had very tight knit private-public partnership. We know where that ended up.

  8. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

    Buying a car from Stealerships and products from members of the below helps fund this corruptness….


  9. Alan says:

    What will actually happen in the US when incentives disappear, what’s from stopping people from buying them on the internet or across the border in another state ?

    Is there any law that says they cant open service centres etc ?

    1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

      Thay’ll try and pass some bill that says ant EV’s purchased out of the state will have to pay an extra $500 instate registration or deny registration all together.

      I think I read something similar in the past.

    2. DetGuy says:

      I live in the Detroit area. Driving home from work yesterday I spotted a Tesla with an Ohio temp tag. I typically spot at least one Tesla a week now. People are buying and driving them in Michigan regardless of the shenanigans in Lansing.

      1. Sunpwrd says:

        I’ve been driving mine here in Michigan for 4.5 years and have 129,000 miles on it. Best car I’ve ever owned. Plan on driving it as long as it lasts and beyond. Have solar at home since 2010. The fossil fuel companies don’t want you to break your dependence on them. Just vote with your purchases and you can beat these cronies and break this corrupt system.

  10. Nix says:

    Tesla will lose this case if it goes all the way to a ruling, but not before making an unholy mockery out of this legislative change and those who made the change. Hopefully enough of a public mockery that they are forced politically to undo the Tesla ban. Tesla has no choice but to plow forward with the suit.