LANSING--Michigan's top 150 state political action committees have raised $27.3 million so far this election cycle according to reports filed this week with the Michigan Department of State. That total lags behind the corresponding total from 2010, when the Republican Governors Association had placed $4.3 million in its Michigan state PAC, but it is dead even with fundraising by the top 150 PACs at this point in 2008.
The House Republican Campaign Committee tops the list with $2,120,556 raised. That total is more than double what the HRCC had raised at the same point last cycle, in a clear indication of the fundraising advantage that accrues to the majority caucus.
The Senate Republican Campaign Committee ranks second with $1,447,354 and the House Democratic Fund ranks third with $1,412,517. It is normal for the legislative caucuses' PACs to be clustered at the top of the list.
Rounding out the list of the top ten fundraisers are the Michigan Education Association - $1,061,530, Michigan Association for Justice - $1,002,214, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan - $889,093, Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters - $693,815, Michigan Health and Hospital Association - $620,682, Business Leaders for Michigan SuperPAC - $578,250 and Michigan Association of Realtors - $575,825.
Speaker Jase Bolger - $383,700 - and Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville - $350,577 - have the most successful officeholders' leadership PACs.
SuperPACs are being registered in increasing number but so far they are not heavily represented among the largest state PACs.
"Since we haven't had limits on contributions to state PACs, the amount of money SuperPACs are raising is not particularly new," said Rich Robinson of the nonpartisan Michigan Campaign Finance Network.
"What is new is wiping the donors' identities off their contributions by running them through a nonprofit shell," said Robinson. "For example, more than 90 percent of the funds given to the Senate Majority SuperPAC this reporting period ran through the Michigan Jobs and Labor Foundation. That process destroys accountability and guarantees the donor anonymity. That is wrong for democracy."