LANSING – Michigan’s top political action committees continued to show robust collective growth in their most recent reports to the Michigan Bureau of Elections. The top 150 PACs have raised $30.0 million so far this election cycle, through July 20th. That figure is 26.6 percent ahead of the fundraising total for the top 150 PACs at the same point in the 2004 election cycle. As of July 20, 2004, the top 150 PACs had raised $23.7 million.
The nonpartisan Michigan Campaign Finance Network compiled the list of Michigan’s top 150 PACs from Bureau of Election reports.
The legislative caucuses’ PACs are the top fundraisers, as is customary, and their fundraising is up by an average of 65 percent. The House Republicans have raised $2,752,277 and have $1,378,605 on hand; the House Democrats have raised $1,825,223 and have $1,147,248 on hand; Senate Republicans have raised $1,772,965 and have $1,269,861 on hand; Senate Democrats have raised $1,271,191 and have $1,243,984 on hand. The four caucuses’ PACs report that they are debt free.
The top state elected officials’ leadership PACs are: the Granholm Leadership Fund, $705,860 (up $454,004 compared to 2004); Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s Generations PAC, $452,507 (up $302,507); Lt. Gov. John Cherry’s JDC Genesee Fund, $253,250 (down $5,980); Speaker of the House Craig DeRoche’s No. VI Leadership Fund, $202,625 (up $118,700); and Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Anthony Marrocco’s Victory Fund, $200,025 (up $31,951).
The leading contestants to assume leadership of the Senate Republican caucus in the next legislature also have been prodigious fundraisers: Sen. Jason Allen (Traverse City) has raised $242,182 in his two leadership PACs; Sen. Mike Bishop (Rochester) has raised $204,618 in his two PACs; and Sen. Wayne Kuipers (Holland) has raised $188,125.
Among the interest groups with PACs, the leading gainers were: the United Auto Workers Voluntary PAC, $1,200,000 (up $425,000); Michigan Association of Realtors PAC, $876,608 (up $237,701); Comerica, Inc. PAC, $370,762 (up $207,594); Michigan Health & Hospital Association’s Health PAC, $496,284 (up $165,709); Michigan Trial Lawyers Association’s Justice PAC, $641,762 (up $124,074); and Comcast, Corp. PAC, $111,302 (up $110,902).
The big decliners among PACs were: Attorney General Mike Cox’s 5200 Club, $84,842 (down $362,222); the DeVos family’s Great Lakes Education Project, $192,100 (down $328,485); the Michigan Nurses Association PAC, $19,160 (down $202,066); and the Michigan Education Association PAC, $994,749 (down $187,767).
An emerging national trend is present in Michigan, also. Several aspiring presidential candidates have established state PACs, led by Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s Commonwealth PAC, with $1,124,720; and Sen. John McCain’s Straight Talk America - Michigan PAC, $138,000.
“Collectively, the interest groups and politicians are demonstrating an awesome ability to raise money to drive the political process,” said Rich Robinson of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. “If household income in Michigan was growing at this rate, our state economy would be the envy of the world.”