LANSING -- Michigan’s top 150 political action committees (PACs) reported raising $37.1 million dollars in their pre-election October reports. That total is down by 28.5 percent compared to corresponding figures from the record-setting 2006 election cycle, when the top 150 PACs reported $51.9 million. However, compared to the last presidential cycle in 2004, this year’s figures are up by a robust 25 percent.
While fundraising is down for many of the top PACs, there are notable exceptions. The House Democratic Fund is up by 11.4 percent at $2.5 million. Prominent officeholders’ leadership PACs also showed strong increases, led by Governor Granholm’s leadership fund: $1,135,188; Speaker Andy Dillon’s PAC: $751,551; and Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop’s PAC: $462,779.
The competition to succeed term-limited House Republican leader Craig DeRoche was reflected in a number of House Republicans’ leadership PACs. Rep. Marty Knollenberg led that list with $104,725. He was followed by Reps. Brian Calley: $100,725; David Hildenbrand: $91,875; and Kevin Green: $91,181.
Kalamazoo philanthropist Jon Stryker is the greatest single source of money in Michigan politics for the second consecutive election cycle. Stryker’s PAC contributions included: Coalition for Progress: $3,834,300; Michigan Equality PAC: $255,000; Michigan List: $135,000; Planned Parenthood: $75,000; America Votes Michigan: $50,000; Michigan Pride PAC: $50,000; Lieutenant Governor John Cherry’s Genesee Fund: $24,000; the House Democratic Fund: $20,000; and the Civic Fund: $15,000. He also has given $320,000 to the Michigan Democratic State Central Committee and $100,000 to Cure Michigan, the proponent of Proposal 2.
After an effective hibernation of three years that coincided with Dick DeVos’s gubernatorial run, the Great Lakes Education Project has come back as a leading PAC with $450,000. Rich and Helen DeVos gave GLEP $250,000, and Dick and Betsy DeVos contributed $100,000.
“Overall, PACS have somewhat less money than 2006 but it’s a shorter state ballot,” said Rich Robinson of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. “Money in politics is still a strong sector of this state’s economy.”