LANSING - Michigan's top 150 state political action committees have reported raising $22,229,875 so far this election cycle, through February 10th. That is more than the top 150 state PACs reported as of April 20th in the 2012 cycle.
Turnaround Detroit, a SuperPAC that supported the candidacy of now-Mayor Mike Duggan of Detroit in his 2013 election campaign has taken in the most money. At $3.166 million, Turnaround Detroit has raised more money than the next two most prolific fundraisers, the House Republican Campaign Committee ($1.52 million) and the Senate Republican Campaign Committee ($1.28 million).
Turnaround Detroit, along with Detroit Forward, a Wayne County-based SuperPAC that supported Benny Napoleon's 2013 Detroit mayoral campaign, represent the first occurrences of single-candidate state SuperPACs in Michigan. Single-candidate SuperPACs were a prominent feature in the 2012 presidential campaign, and they are being organized in a number of competitive congressional elections this cycle.
SuperPACs can accept unlimited contributions from persons, political committee or corporations - both nonprofit and profit-making.
At least 27 of the top 150 state PACs are officeholders' leadership PACs. With three of the legislative caucuses' leadership positions due to be vacated at year's end because of term limits, the race to load up leadership PACs is one way of handicapping prospective leadership races for the legislature that will be seated in 2015.
Among Senate Republicans who are not term-limited, Sen. Arlan Meekhof of Ottawa County has the top leadership PAC. His Moving Michigan Forward has raised $65,418. Meekhof has two additional leadership PACs, Moving Michigan Forward II and Arlan Meekhof State Senate, that bring his fundraising total to $109,000.
Sen. Mike Kowall of Oakland County has the other notable leadership PACs among Senate Republicans who can return to office. His Kowall Leadership Committee and Kowall Majority Fund have raised a combined total of $71,710.
Sen. Jim Ananich of Genesee County has the top leadership PAC among Senate Democrats who are not term-limited. His Ananich Future Fund has raised $43,550. No other Senate Democrat who has the possibility of returning made the top 150 list.
The most contested leadership fundraising race is playing out among House Republicans. Among those who are not facing term limits, Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons of Alto has the top PAC fundraising total at $98,620. She is followed by Rep. Al Pscholka of Stevensville - $77,740, Rep. Mike Callton of Nashville - $65,963, Rep. Aric Nesbitt of Lawton - $52,374 and Rep. Ken Yonker of Gaines Township - $47,500.
House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel of Auburn Hills does not face term limits. His Greimel for Michigan PAC has raised $109,025.
In addition to the Detroit mayoral SuperPACs, three other SuperPACs have raised at least $100,000 so far this cycle. They are Business Leaders for Michigan PAC II - $274,000, Michigan Chamber of Commerce PAC III - $130,176 and Conservation Voters of Michigan - $104,400. Since there are no limits on contributions to SuperPACs, fundraising totals can increase greatly, and in a hurry.
Only four Michigan state PACs - the legislative caucuses' PACs - are subject to contribution limits. For those PACs, the doubling of contribution limits that was enacted at the end of 2013 favored Republicans. Nine members of the DeVos family gave the new annual maximum of $40,000 to the House Republican Campaign Committee and to the Senate Republican Campaign Committee.
Just two committees gave the new maximum to the House Democratic Fund: the campaign committee of Rep. Tim Greimel and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters PAC. The Senate Democratic Fund received no contributions at the new annual maximum.
Three PACs that file reports with the Michigan Bureau of Elections are not included in the list of top state PACs because they are effectively national PACs that spend money in multiple states and in federal campaigns. Those committees are the Marathon Petroleum Corporation Employees PAC, the U.S. Steel Corporation PAC and the Great Lakes Sugar Beet Growers PAC.