Top PACs beat record fundraising pace of 2006 cycle

LANSING -- Money continues to flow in the Lansing political marketplace. The top 150 political action committees (PACs) have raised $9,558,690 through July 20th this year. That pace is just slightly ahead of the 2005-2006 election cycle, when the top 150 PACs had raised $9,538,880 through the July 2005 report. In 2006, contributions to the top 150 PACs were up by 55 percent compared to the two previous election cycles.

The change in majority in the House is reflected in PAC fundraising. The House Democratic Fund supplanted the House Republican Campaign Committee at the top of the list. The House Democratic Fund is up 64 percent to $891,795, while the House Republicans are down 37 percent to $699,247, good enough for third place in the money chase, behind the Senate Republican Campaign Committee at $828,758. The Senate Democratic Fund is eighth with $264,965.

The Granholm Leadership Fund is the fundraising leader among elected officials' leadership PACs with $264,965, 125 percent ahead of its pace from last cycle. Wayne County Commission Chairwoman Jewel Ware's Diamond PAC is second among leadership PACs with $152,925. Lieutenant Governor John Cherry's JDC Genesee Fund is third with $113,750, followed by Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Anthony Marrocco's Independent Voters PAC with $87,775. The PACs of Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop and Speaker of the House Andy Dillon are in a near dead heat with $84,769 and $83,001, respectively.

Big gainers among interest groups' PACs included the Health and Hospital Association Health PAC, up 88 percent at $304,059, the Auto Dealers of Michigan PAC, up by 81 percent at $220,608, and U.S. Steel PAC, up more than ten-fold at $169,901.

Among major players from last cycle that have fallen off the fundraising list, Mitt Romney's Commonwealth PAC has stopped raising money, although it still has a fund balance of nearly $400,000. The UAW and EMILY's List haven't put money into their Michigan PACs yet this tear.

"No matter what the state of the larger economy is, the political money sector continues to show robust performance," said Rich Robinson of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

The list of the top 150 PACs was compiled from reports filed with the Michigan Bureau of Elections.

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