U.S. Rep. Alyssa Slotkin is reportedly renting a residence in Lansing’s Old Town neighborhood from the head of a medical manufacturing firm and a donor to her campaign in Congress, multiple sources have confirmed.
Niowave, Inc. is a Lansing-based company that manufactures medical radioisotopes. Jerry Hollister, a Niowave board member and the firm’s director of government relations, is the official owner of the apartment that Slotkin, D-Holly, is renting, according to a copy of the lease obtained by MLive.
Hollister also donated $1,850 to Slotkin’s congressional campaign throughout her career in small dollar amounts, according to her campaign.
The news prompted some conservative groups — as well as the campaign of Sen. Tom Barrett, R-Charlotte, who Slotkin will face in November’s midterm elections — to question the nature of the relationship between Hollister and Slotkin, saying his campaign benefited from it. time in office.
“Elisa Slotkin’s fake residence in Lansing lets voters know she has only her own interests in mind,” said Gustavo Portello, communications director for the Michigan Republican Party. “She cannot be trusted to represent Michiganders from District 7 independently while she actively maintains relationships as a Lansing tenant with an East Coast lobbyist whose own business Slotkin expanded when she supported a program that awarded the company millions of dollars in grants.”
The grants cited by Portello come from a letter sent to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) signed by a bipartisan group of lawmakers — including Slotkin and U.S. Rep. John Mullenaar, R-Midland — in December 2020 that said the organization’s gratitude for him Molybdenum-99 program. This letter, however, does not mention Niowave or other companies.
About a year after that letter was sent to NNSA Acting Administrator Niawawe received a contract worth 13 million dollars to support the commercial production of molybdenum-99, which the US Department of Energy has called a “medically important isotope.”
Jason Rowe, Barrett’s campaign strategist, said that even though Niowave isn’t specifically mentioned in the letter signed by Slotkin, it still has benefits.
He said Hollister was the distributor of the letter, although Slotkin’s campaign says the original distributor was U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing.
“Of course, optically, the 7th Congressional District has probably 400,000 residents,” Roe said. “The idea that the only one she could find belonged to a lobbyist she had a relationship with doesn’t sound great. … She carries herself like this benevolent centrist, but I would say her behavior shows the arrogance of many politicians.”
Hollister owns the property, which Slotkin rents with his wife, Kathy Hollister. The couple, however, split their time between Lansing and where they currently live in Connecticut. Despite this, Hollister is still registered to vote on the property Slotkin rents, as is Slotkin herself.
In an email sent to MLive, Hollister said he consulted with Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope to determine if his voter registration was allowed to be stored at the facility, noting that Swope confirmed it.
Documents obtained by MLive confirm that Slotkin does live next door under a 7-month lease that began on April 15 and ends on November 15, just days after the midterm elections. According to the same documents, Slotkin pays Hollister $2,000 a month in rent. The lease is also signed by Slotkin’s husband, Dave Moore, who is listed as the tenant on the document.
Lindsay Mukomel, a spokeswoman for Slotkin’s campaign, said in a statement that Slotkin was simply renting the property from Hollister and “has never done anything in Congress that would have improperly benefited his campaign.”
“Because Tom Barrett and his company are desperate to change the news cycle, he and his friends in Washington are trying to falsely imply that there is an inappropriate relationship between the congresswoman and her host — even including ‘living with’ him,” Mukomel said. . “To be clear, this is a patently false, obscene allegation, and it falls far below the voters of this constituency. Instead of spreading lies, Tom Barrett should act like a leader and focus on the issues that matter to the people he hopes to represent.”
Sources said that due to the volatility of the real estate market between the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022, Slotkin decided to rent a house in the area, rather than buy it.
An affidavit obtained by MLive and signed by Hollister himself confirms this, with Hollister writing that while he intends to return to living in Lansing in the future, “neither my wife nor I have lived in Lansing” since the lease began.
“I have never lived with Representative Slotkin,” Hollister said in an affidavit signed on Wednesday, September 22.
Hollister told MLive that he and Slotkin met in 2018 at the MLK Breakfast, when Slotkin was first running for Congress, not knowing who she was at the time. Noting that he and his wife knew they were purchasing a second home in Connecticut, Hollister said he and Slotkin had “early discussions about renting a property in Lansing while we were gone, before we knew Rep. Slotkin wanted to move to Lansing “.
As for the idea that he is a lobbyist, Hollister was adamant that he is not, saying that Niowave “is not a lobbying organization and has no lobbyists registered to lobby on its behalf either federally or in Michigan . »
He added that the move to Connecticut was largely driven by a desire to be closer to family, as his wife’s family lives on the East Coast and his two children attend college in New England.
In a follow-up email, Hollister said he is currently considering hiring a lawyer to file a defamation suit against claims he ever lived with Slotkin since she first leased the property to her, saying that “not only her company is tarnished, but my reputation may also be tarnished, which may affect my consulting opportunities.’
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