Top PACs have raised $21.8 million this cycle

LANSING – Michigan’s top 150 political action committees (PACs) have raised $21.8 million so far this election cycle, according to reports filed with the Michigan Bureau of Elections.

That total is down by 6 percent compared to funds raised by the top 150 PACs at this point in the record-setting 2006 election cycle, but up by 17 percent compared to the 2004 cycle.

As usual, the legislative caucuses’ PACs top the list. The House Democratic Fund is the pacesetter, having raised $1,685,900 and having $1.15 million in cash on hand.

The Senate Republicans and House Republicans are second and third, but most of what they have raised this cycle has gone to retire debts from the 2006 cycle. The Senate Republicans have raised $1,497,128 and have $375,000 in cash on hand; and the House Republicans have raised $1,259,491 and have $251,000 on hand. The Senate Democrats are eighth in fundraising at $640,009 but their cash balance is competitive with their Republican counterparts at $333,000.

The Michigan Education Association and the Michigan Association of Realtors are fourth and fifth on the list at $759,371 and $696,814, respectively, but both are running behind their fundraising pace of 2006.

Jon Stryker’s Coalition for Progress is sixth at $679,385. Coalition for Progress became the biggest PAC in Michigan history in the 2006 cycle with $5.46 million raised.

Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan is seventh so far this cycle, up by 51 percent at $657,371. Blue Cross gave more than $190,000 to officeholders’ committees and leadership PACs during the six-months covered by the April report.

Prominent officeholders’ leadership PACs showed robust performance during the reporting period. Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s Leadership Fund has raised $626,119, up by 30 percent compared to last cycle.

Speaker Andy Dillon has raised $515,426, already more than any previous speaker of the house for an entire election cycle. Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop has raised $316,950, 74 percent ahead of his pace in the 2006 cycle when he was competing to lead the Senate Republican caucus.

The top new PACs so far this cycle are Rep. Robert Jones’ (D-Kalamazoo) JAM PAC, at $119,350, and the Michigan Recall Organization at $103,192. The Michigan Recall Organization is the funding vehicle for attempted recalls of Speaker Andy Dillon and Rep. Robert Dean of Grand Rapids.

“It has been six long months since the last time state PACs reported on their fundraising and spending,” said Rich Robinson of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. “With policy issues such as electricity re-regulation and the market for individual health insurance policies in spirited contention, we should be seeing PAC reports quarterly.”

“It appears likely that the bill to require disclosure of officeholders’ legal defense funds will pass with a requirement for quarterly reporting,” said Robinson. “That same standard should apply for PACs, parties, candidate committees and lobbyists’ spending reports.”

The complete list of the top 150 Michigan PACs is available online at www.mcfn.org.

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