Seat for sale?

Club for Growth makes bid to buy outcome of 7th District primary

LANSING – The pre-primary campaign finance reports for Michigan's 7th Congressional District primary election show a growing infusion of out-of-state contributions bundled by the Club for Growth PAC being funneled into the campaign of Brad Smith. As of July 14th, Club for Growth had provided Smith's campaign with $135,000 in earmarked contributions. Of that amount, Michiganians contributed only $6,000. Overall, 54 percent of Smith's itemized individual contributions have come from out-of-state. Contributions of $200 or less are not itemized.

In contrast to the Smith campaign, the other candidates' itemized individual contributions overwhelmingly come from Michigan residents. Out-of-state percentages are: Clark Bisbee – 16 percent; Gene DeRossett - two percent; Paul DeWeese – three percent; Joe Schwarz – seven percent; and, Tim Walberg – 21 percent.

"The Smith campaign is a classic example of the new wave of post-reform campaign fund-raising in federal elections," said Rich Robinson, executive director of the nonpartisan Michigan Campaign Finance Network. "Soft money and bogus issue advertising are out and bundling is in. But it's just another way for an ideological interest group to try to buy the outcome of an election."

In addition to earmarked individual contributions, Club for Growth PAC has contributed $1,000 directly to the Smith campaign and made $5,700 in independent expenditures supporting Smith.

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