LANSING – Michigan’s top 150 political action committees raised $51.9 million in the 2006 election cycle. That total is up by 55 percent compared to the fundraising totals for the top 150 in the 2002 and 2004 election cycles when the totals were $33.2 million and $33.4 million, respectively.
The Coalition for Progress, which received 98 percent of its funds from Jon and Pat Stryker, became the biggest PAC in Michigan history by raising $5,460,077. The PAC was first organized in August of 2006.
The top ten PACs – Coalition for Progress ($5.46M), House Republican Campaign Committee ($4.45M), UAW Voluntary PAC ($3.55M), House Democratic Fund ($2.72M), Senate Republican Campaign Committee ($2.66M), Senate Democratic Fund ($2.04M), Commonwealth PAC ($1.85M), MEA PAC ($1.43M), Realtors’ PAC ($1.19M) and EMILY’s List ($1.12M) – collectively raised $26.5 million, over half the amount raised by the top 150.
The legislative caucuses’ PACs, which are usually among the fundraising leaders, were up collectively by 70 percent compared to 2004 and 114 percent compared to 2002. The caucuses’ PACs also borrowed heavily and ended with considerable debt: House Republicans: $825,000; Senate Republicans: $900,000; House Democrats: $300,000; and; Senate Democrats: $239,000.
Mitt Romney’s Commonwealth PAC, one of several he has organized around the country, was the leading politician’s leadership PAC for the cycle. Governor Jennifer Granholm’s Leadership Fund and Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s Generations PAC were next with $839,000 and $471,000, respectively.
“The state’s economy may be in trouble, but the interest groups certainly aren’t having any difficulty raising money to push their concerns,” said Rich Robinson of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. “There is more money in the political system than ever before and the interest groups that give it will be heard when it comes time to write budgets, regulations and tax policy. I hope the average Michigan family will be considered in the process too.”
The nonprofit, nonpartisan Michigan Campaign Finance Network compiled the list of the top 150 Michigan PACs from reports filed with the Department of State’s Bureau of Elections.