Delayed accountability beats no accountability

State officeholders' file first campaign finance reports in 14 months

REVISED 2/4/2008

LANSING – State officeholders’ first required campaign finance reports since their 2006 post-election reports were due on Thursday January 31st. During the time since their last reports were filed they have collectively raised $4,452,100, according to data compiled by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network from the Bureau of Election’s campaign finance database.

“It is absolutely absurd to have officeholders go for a year or longer between campaign finance reports,” said Rich Robinson of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. “This schedule just doesn’t allow for proper oversight of the flow of interest groups' money in the political process. And that is important because interest groups use money as a tool to drive their policy agenda.”

In aggregate, the 38 state senators raised $1,387,722, even though 30 of the 38 senators are term-limited and ineligible to run for the Senate again. The average raised by term-limited senators was $30,424 compared to $59,775 for those who are eligible to run for another term.

The 105 state representatives whose reports are accessible have raised $2,629,541. The average amount raised by the 44 term-limited representatives was $17,791. The average amount raised by those who are eligible to run again was $28,741.

Nine representatives and one senator are the targets of recall committees and normal contribution limits do not apply for money they raise to defend themselves against a recall. Those legislators are Representatives Steve Bieda (D-Warren), Marc Corriveau (D-Northville), Robert Dean (D-Grand Rapids), Marie Donigan (D-Royal Oak), Ed Gaffney (R-Grosse Pointe), Joel Sheltrown (D-West Branch), Aldo Vagnozzi (D-Farmington Hills), Mary Valentine (D-Muskegon), Speaker Andy Dillon (D-Redford) and Senator Gerald Van Woerkom (R-Norton Shores). Normal contribution limits are $500 for representatives from individuals and $1,000 for senators from individuals per election cycle. Independent political action committees can give ten-times the individual limit.

Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land was the leading fundraiser among the state’s elected executives, all of whom are term limited. Land raised $226,389; Gov. Jennifer Granholm raised $109,331; Lt. Gov. John Cherry raised $79,550; and Attorney General Mike Cox raised $19,567.

The state’s political action committees are in the middle of a six-month reporting hiatus. Their next reports will be due on April 25th. The representatives who are running for reelection and their challengers will file their next reports on July 25th. The rest of the officeholders will report again a year from now.

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