Grapevine: Family politics in Michigan State Senate primary

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine...

Top Secret

Having a top secret clearance requires many things.

Keeping up with your taxes is not one of them.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says 83,000 Defense Department employees and contractors who are eligible for security clearances owe $730 million in unpaid federal taxes.

That does not automatically prevent those people from having a government clearance but poor finances are a potential hazard because an individual may resort to illegal means to generate funds.

Republican Senator Tom Coburn says it is not just about the money.

Quote -- "Federal tax cheats with security clearances jeopardize both our national and economic security, and could unnecessarily put our nation's classified information at risk."

The GAO found that less than half of the delinquents are in a repayment plan right now.

Who's the Boss?

California is a big state. So big it needs four governors this week.

Right now, California's acting governor is actually the state's lieutenant governor.

Yesterday, elected Governor Jerry Brown released his power before he left for Mexico.

Tomorrow, the leadership carrousel continues when the lieutenant governor flies out of town for the Special Olympics, leaving the senate president pro temp with the reigns.

Wednesday, the Senate leader takes off, so the assembly speaker gets the power, but only for about nine hours, until Governor Brown returns to reclaim his authority.

The secession rules are all outlined in the state's constitution. Many states actually have similar procedures to handle a governor's absence.

Politics Ain't Beanbag

Finally, a Michigan State Senate primary is getting very personal.

Wayne Schmidt has been endorsed by his opponent's mother, who says Schmidt is the better candidate.

Schmidt gladly accepted the endorsement -- quote -- "Politics can bring out many differences among friends and families."

Greg MacMaster says he wants people to focus on his record, not on his mother -- who he says he does not speak to -- quote -- "For voters, politics should be about my positions, the votes I have taken, my conservative values."