Leadership PACs are big winners in October reports

LANSING – Michigan’s top political action committees continue to show a robust capacity to raise money, but the top 150 state PACs are slightly behind the pace of the 2006 election cycle. The top 150 PACs so far this cycle have raised $13,460,264 through October 20, 2007. The top 150 PACs had raised $13,851,943 at this point in the record-setting 2006 cycle.

The nonpartisan Michigan Campaign Finance Network compiled these data from reports filed with the Department of State’s Bureau of Elections.

As is customary, the legislative caucuses’ PACs are the fundraising leaders, with the House Democrats already passing the $1 million mark. However, the Republican caucus PACs are still burdened with debt from the 2006 cycle. The House Republicans and Senate Republicans both have more debt than cash on hand. The net financial position of the House Republicans is $86,708 in the hole. The Senate Republicans are $88,740 in the red. The net position of the House Democrats is plus $651,803. Senate Democrats are $201,359 in the black.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s Leadership Fund is the leading elected official’s leadership PAC, having raised $358,345, more than twice its total at this point in the 2006 cycle. Speaker of the House Andy Dillon’s Leadership Fund is close behind at $345,051. Former Speaker Craig DeRoche had raised $87, 225 at this point in the 2006 cycle.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop has raised $200,685 so far this cycle. Former majority leader Ken Sikkema had raised $73,545 at a corresponding point in the last Senate election cycle, in October 2003.

Several of the top interest groups’ PACs are down compared to last cycle. The Realtors PAC (#5) is down 15 percent at $425,499, and the Michigan Education Association (#10) is down 19 percent at $334,523. Leading gainers among interest groups included the U.S. Steel PAC (#12), up more than ten-fold at $251,926, and the Health and Hospital Association’s Health PAC (#11), up 76 percent to $319,529.

“While the elected leaders have been busy working out a budget deal, it appears as though they’ve found time to milk the interest groups, too,” said Rich Robinson of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. “I wonder how all this works into budget priorities.”

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