"An independent and honorable judiciary is indispensable to justice in our society. A judge should participate in establishing, maintaining, and enforcing, and should personally observe, high standards of conduct so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary may be preserved." — Michigan Code of Judicial Conduct
This page shows the evolution of campaign finances for Michigan Supreme Court campaigns over the three decades from 1984 through 2016.
Over that time, spending in Michigan's Supreme Court races has trended upward and the role of outside groups has ballooned. Since 2000, groups funded by secret donors have poured at least $41 million into races by running issue advertisements that praise or criticize Supreme Court candidates but that don't expressly tell viewers how to vote. Those groups' efforts were on full display in 2012 when only 24.9 percent of the spending in the races came from groups that disclosed the the sources of their money.
For the 2010, 2012 and 2014 campaigns, the Brennan Center for Justice found that Michigan was home to the most expensive and least transparent Supreme Court campaigns in the country. From 2000 through 2018, the Michigan Campaign Finance Network has tracked $77 million across the Supreme Court races. More than half of the money has come from undisclosed donors.
In addition to campaign finance data, the page displays representative samples of electioneering television advertisements, or candidate-focused issue advertisements, from the campaigns of 2000 through 2018. Over the period from 2000 through 2018, the political parties and interest groups spent two-thirds more than the amount raised and spent by the candidate committees for unreported, unregulated electioneering television advertisements. Spending data for those advertisements were collected from the public files of Michigan's television broadcasters and cable systems.
Sample advertisements are from Kantar Media/CMAG and YouTube.
Michigan Supreme Court Campaign Finance Summary, 1984-2018
Michigan Supreme Court Campaign Finance Summary By Election Cycle