Which Candidates Are Benefiting From Donations To Key Lawmakers' PACs?

PACs For House GOP Leader Hopefuls Rob VerHeulen, Tom Leonard Brought In More Than $300k Combined In The Last Three Months

By CRAIG MAUGER
Michigan Campaign Finance Network

LANSING — The wives of two current GOP House members and a newcomer in a battleground district have been among the top recipients of donations from current state lawmakers in the run-up to Tuesday’s primary election.

Political action committees (PACs) controlled by state officeholders had to report their fundraising and their spending totals on Monday. The top 20 PACs connected to state officeholders reported raising $938,910 between April 21, 2016, and July 20, 2016. Lawmakers’ PACs can take large contributions from individuals and interest groups. They can use the money to give to their parties' candidates in swing districts and to help fund their caucuses’ political operations.

While caucus committees, like the House Republican Campaign Committee and the House Democratic Fund, can’t give money to candidates in contested primary elections, lawmakers’ individual PACs can, and they do.

But it can be a touchy matter because if sitting lawmakers side with a candidate in a primary, that person’s opponent likely won’t forget it. For this cycle, according to one source, lawmakers involved in the House Republican Campaign Committee were even asked to not give money to candidates in the majority of open contested primary races (there were some exceptions). Some lawmakers agreed. Others didn’t.

MCFN looked at the PAC spending reports of 10 key officeholders: six Republicans and four Democrats.

The PACs for all four Democrats — House Minority Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills), House Minority Floor Sam Singh (D-East Lansing), House Democratic Campaign Chair Adam Zemke (D-Ann Arbor) and Rep. Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo) — gave money to Erin Kieliszewski, an Alpena Democrat running in a contested primary in the 106th District. She’s running against Robert Kennedy, of Harrisville, who was the party’s nominee in the district in 2014.

On the GOP side, many key House Republicans have been making contributions to Daire Rendon, wife of term-limited Rep. Bruce Rendon (R-Lake City), and to Diana Farrington (R-Utica), wife of term-limited Rep. Jeff Farrington (R-Utica). Daire Rendon is in a contested primary race in the 103rd District. Diana Farrington is in a contested race in the 30th.

Since Jan. 1, Daire Rendon has received about $16,800 from current lawmakers’ PACs, including from Bruce Rendon’s Rendon Leadership North. Over that same time, Diana Farrington has received about $21,250 from current lawmakers’ PACs, including $10,000 from Jeff Farrington’s Farrington Leadership Fund.

Rep. Rob VerHeulen (R-Walker) and Rep. Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt), two lawmakers who hope to be the next leader of the House Republican caucus, have used their PACs to make contributions to both Rendon and Farrington.

VerHeulen’s VerHeulen Leadership Fund raised $254,375 between April 21 and July 20. Leonard’s Michigan Values Leadership Fund raised $111,075. Both PACs reported making $40,000 contributions to the House Republican Campaign Committee during the period.

Below is a run-down of the top contributors to key lawmakers’ PACs between April 21 and July 20 and to which State House candidates the PACs have contributed:

VerHeulen Leadership Fund, Rep. Rob VerHeulen (R-Walker)

Raised During The Period: $254,375

Top Contributors: VerHeulen’s candidate committee gave $87,000 to the fund. But it also received support from Autocam Executive John Kennedy III ($25,000), the Business Leaders for Michigan ($10,000) and the Boji Group’s Ronnie Boji ($10,000).

Candidates: The PAC supported Daire Rendon (103rd) ($2,000), Diana Farrington (30th) ($1,500) and Matt Muxlow (83rd) ($250).

Michigan Values Leadership Fund, Rep. Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt)

Raised During The Period: $111,075

Top Contributors: The fund received $10,000 from Phil Goodrich, who works for the Michigan House, $5,000 from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and $8,000 from the Michigan Association of Collection Agencies. Leonard’s candidate committee also gave $17,500.

Candidates: The PAC supported Tom Barrett (71st) ($7,000), Holly Hughes (91st) ($2,500), Diana Farrington (30th) ($2,500), Daire Rendon (103rd) ($2,500), John Bizon (62nd) ($2,500), Julie Calley (87th) ($1,500), Larry Inman (104th) ($1,500), Martin Howrylak (41st) ($500), Joe Graves (51st) ($1,000) and Mary Whiteford (80th) ($1,000).

AZO PAC, Rep. Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo)

Raised During The Period: $65,978

Top Contributors: Tim Gill, of JStar LLC gave $25,000. Margo Dichtelmiller, an Eastern Michigan professor, gave $10,000. And David Dechman, of Summit Rock Advisors, gave $7,500.

Candidates: The PAC supported John Fisher (61st) ($1,000), Jim Haadsma (62nd)($1,000), Annie Brown (66th) ($1,000), Michael Notte (30th) ($1,000), Collene Lamonte (91st) ($1,000), Dan Scripps (101st) ($750), Erin Kieliszewski (106th) ($1,000), Tom Redmond (56th) ($250), Marletta Seats (79th) ($250), Dana Camphous Peterson (24th) ($250), Ron Brooks (64th) ($250), Harvey Schmidt (57th) ($250), Barb Fuller (52nd) ($250), Bryan Mielke (99th) ($250), Scott Celello (108th) ($250), Thesesa Abed (71st) ($250), Tom Cochran (67th) ($100), LaTanya Garrett (7th) ($100) and Henry Yanez (25th) ($100).

Moving Michigan Forward Fund II, Sen. Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive)

Raised During The Period: $56,580

Top Contributors: The fund’s top contributors included James Nicholson, of PVS Chemicals ($10,000), Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan ($7,500) and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce PAC ($5,000).

Candidates: The PAC supported Jeff Neilson (20th) ($1,500), Ryan Gallogly (72nd) ($1,500) Matt Muxlow (83rd) ($1,500), Thomas Albert (86th) ($1,500), Scott VanSingel (100th) ($1,000), Bronna Kahle (57th) ($1,000), Daire Rendon (103rd) ($1,000), Tommy Brann (77th) ($1,000), Joe Kent (46th) ($1,000), Pamela Hornberger (32nd) ($1,000), Beth Griffin (66th) ($1,000), Jim Lilly (89th) ($1,000), Curt VanderWall (101st) ($500) and Steve Marino (24th) ($500).

Relentless Positive Action PAC, Gov. Rick Snyder

Raised During The Period: $48,985

Top Contributors: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan gave $25,000. Martha Ford of the Detroit Lions gave $5,000. DTE Energy and State Board of Education member Eileen Weiser each gave $2,500.

Candidates: The PAC supported Rob VerHeulen (74th) ($1,000), Kathy Crawford (38th) ($1,000), Lee Chatfield (107th) ($1,000), Klint Kesto (39th) ($1,000), Brett Roberts (65th) ($1,000), John Bizon (62nd) ($1,000), Holly Hughes (91st) ($1,000), Mary Whiteford (80th) ($1,000), Tom Leonard (93rd) ($1,000), Daniela Garcia (90th) ($1,000), Jason Sheppard (56th) ($1,000), Martin Howrylak (41st) ($1,000), Larry Inman (104th) ($1,000), Brandt Iden (61st) and Joseph Graves ($1,000) (51st).

Greater Rochester Leadership Fund, Rep. Mike Webber (R-Rochester Hills)

Raised During The Period: $38,900

Top Contributors: Webber’s candidate committee gave $14,000 Autocam’s John Kennedy gave $5,000. And the Business Leaders for Michigan also gave $5,000.

Candidates: The PAC supported Diana Farrington (30th) ($1,000), Bronna Kahle (57th) ($500), Holly Hughes (91st) ($500), Daire Rendon (103rd) ($500), Klint Kesto (39th) ($500), Matt Muxlow (83rd) ($250), Randy Clark (52nd) ($250, Steve Marino (24th) ($250 and Martin Howrylak (41st) ($250).

Sheppard Leadership Fund, Rep. Jason Sheppard (R-Temperance)

Raised During The Period: $32,500

Top Contributors: The Business Leaders for Michigan gave $5,000 as did John and Nancy Kennedy. The Michigan Insurance Coalition also gave $2,500.

Candidates: The PAC supported Hartmann Aue (85th) ($5,000), Daire Rendon (103rd) ($500), Klint Kesto (39th) ($250) and Bronna Kahle (57th) ($250).

Greimel For Michigan, Rep. Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills)

Raised During The Period: $30,017

Top Contributors: The Michigan Health and Hospital Association’s Health PAC gave $5,000. The Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers PAC gave $5,000. PACs for for General Motors and the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce each gave $2,500.

Candidates: The PAC supported Bryan Mielke (99th), Erin Kieliszewski (106th), Dan Scripps (101st), Anthony Karhoff (85th) ($2,500), Dana Camphous Peterson (24th) ($2,500), Michael Notte (30th) ($2,500), Jim Haadsma (62nd) ($1,500), Michael Stack (39th) ($900), Erika Geiss (12th) ($150), Harvey Schmidt (57th) ($150) and Stephanie Chang (6th) ($150).

Singh For Michigan, Rep. Sam Singh (D-East Lansing)

Raised During The Period: $30,425

Top Contributors: The Operating Engineers gave $10,000. The Business Leaders for Michigan chipped in $3,500, and members of the Cotton family gave a total of $5,000.

Candidates: The PAC supported Erin Kieliszewski (106th) ($5,000), Anthony Karhoff (85th) ($5,000), Stephanie Chang (6th) ($500), Brian Banks (1st) ($500), Erika Geiss (12th) ($500) and Leslie Love (10th) ($500).

Adam Zemke Engineer Michigan’s Future Fund, Rep. Adam Zemke (D-Ann Arbor)

Raised During The Period: $21,020

Top Contributors: The Business Leaders for Michigan gave $3,500, and the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers gave $3,000. The Detroit Regional Chamber’s PAC and the Michigan Health and Hospital Association’s PAC each gave $2,500.

Candidates: The PAC support Erin Kieliszewski (106th) ($6,500), Michael Notte (30th) ($1,500), Bryan Mielke (99th) ($500), Scott Celello (108th) ($250), Anthony Karhoff (85th) ($500), Dan Scripps (101st) ($250), Colleen Pobur (20th) ($250) and Michael Stack (39th) ($250).

 

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