By CRAIG MAUGER
Michigan Campaign Finance Network
LANSING — Michigan has been the source of more than $5.2 million in contributions to Super PACs supporting or opposing presidential candidates, according to a new Michigan Campaign Finance Network (MCFN) analysis.
That $5.2 million is in addition to $6.4 million that Michigan residents have given directly to presidential candidates. Combined, that’s a total of at least $11.6 million in contributions for the presidential race, as of the end of February.
Campaign finance disclosures for the month of February were due to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) earlier this month.
While federal contribution limits restrict donations directly to candidate committees, individuals and corporations can give unlimited contributions to Super PACs that support the candidates but allegedly act independently of the candidates.
Individuals can give up to $2,700 per election to a candidate committee. But when it comes to Super PACs, donations from Michigan have far exceeded that amount with individual donations as high as $750,000. It would take 278 contributions of $2,700 to get to $750,000.
The top Super PAC givers listing Michigan addresses have been the West Michigan-based DeVos family and businessman Dan Gilbert this cycle (Here is a look at donations of more than $1,000 from Michigan donors to presidential Super PACs).
Gilbert, the founder and chairman of Quicken Loans, has given $1.35 million to Super PACs playing in the presidential race. He gave $1.25 million to America Leads, the Super PAC supporting New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and $100,000 to A New Day for America, the Super PAC supporting Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
DeVos family members have combined to contribute $1.32 million to Super PACs. They have given to Super PACs backing three different GOP presidential candidates, all of whom are no longer in the race. Candidates that have received support from various members of the DeVos family were Sen. Marco Rubio, former Gov. Jeb Bush and businesswoman Carly Fiorina.
The smallest DeVos family contribution was $25,000. The largest were $250,000. Richard DeVos has given $250,000 to C.A.R.L.Y. For America, the Super PAC supporting Florina, and to Conservative Solutions, the Super PAC supporting Rubio
Candidate Fundraising In Michigan
Democrat Hillary Clinton, former secretary of state, continues to be the overall leader in Michigan candidate fundraising. But her primary opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders, had a stronger February.
Clinton has raised $1.49 million from Michigan donors for her candidate committee, according to the FEC. Sanders has raised $850,165. However, it’s noteworthy that donations under $200 don’t have to be itemized.
Sanders, who won the Michigan primary on March 8, raised $345,648 for his candidate committee in Michigan in February, according to FEC tracking numbers. Clinton raised $315,576.
Of the three remaining Republican candidates, Sen. Ted Cruz has raised the most from Michigan donors at $630,808. Ohio Gov. John Kasich has raised $297,667, and businessman Donald Trump, who claims to be self-funding his campaign, has raised $32,454.
Presidential Super PACs In Michigan
Here’s a run-down of the Super PACs that have raised the most in Michigan in 2015 and so far in 2016:
— Right to Rise, the Super PAC supporting Bush: The committee raised $1.66 million from donors listing Michigan addresses. The largest donors included Roger Penske, Kojaian Management Corporation and Richard DeVos Sr., who each gave $250,000 early on in the campaign.
— America Leads, the Super PAC supporting Christie: The committee raised $1.40 million from donors listing Michigan addresses. Quicken Loans Chairman Daniel Gilbert was the largest donor at $1.25 million. ETC Capital, a Farmington Hills-based investment firm, gave another $150,000.
— Conservative Solutions, the Super PAC supporting Rubio: The committee raised $815,000 from donors listing Michigan addresses. Of that amount, $750,000 came from members of the DeVos family. DeVos family members gave $500,000 to the committee at the end of February, just weeks before Rubio ended his White House bid in mid March.
— New Day For America, the Super PAC supporting Kasich, has raised $226,000 from Michigan donors. The largest contributors have been Gilbert at $100,000 and James B. Nicholson, executive for PVS Chemicals, at $50,000.
— Super PACs have been actively playing in the Democratic presidential primary. But the Michigan Campaign Finance Network hasn’t tracked — so far — any donations from Michigan to the top Super PACs supporting Sanders and Clinton.