Posts tagged 2016 News

Races For Michigan's 14 Seats In The U.S. House Attracted About $40 Million Last Cycle

Despite the fact that none of the general election results were close, the campaigns for Michigan's 14 congressional seats drew about $40.0 million, according to a review of campaign finance disclosures. About 17 percent of that total — $7 million — came from so-called “independent” spenders that can pay for unlimited amounts of TV ads and mailers to try to influence elections. read more

posted on 04/05/2017

Michigan Lawmakers Disclosed Having More Than 400 Fundraisers Last Year

State lawmakers who served in the Legislature last year self-reported having 414 campaign fundraisers in 2016, according to MCFN’s review of hundreds of campaign finance disclosures. About 46 percent of the events, 192 fundraisers, took place in Lansing on days either the House or the Senate was scheduled to be in session. read more

posted on 03/27/2017

Secret Donors And Interest Groups Continue To Dominate Races For Michigan’s Highest Court

The 2016 races for Michigan's highest court weren't competitive. Still, they attracted millions of dollars — much of it coming from undisclosed sources, as is the tradition in Michigan — with the winning side outspending the losing side by an estimated margin of 34 to one. “I was telling people it was 20 to one,” one of the losing candidates said. “I wanted to be conservative. And I guess I was.” read more

posted on 03/16/2017

2016: Another Record Year For Lobbying In Lansing

Last year saw more spending on lobbying than any year before, according to new filings with the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office. Lobbyists in Michigan reported spending $39.99 million in 2016. It continues a general upward trend for spending to influence lawmakers. The previous high came just one year before in 2015 when lobbyists reported $38.66 million in spending. read more

posted on 03/03/2017

How Millions Of Dollars In Dark Money Helped Shape Michigan’s 2016 Elections

Michigan’s 2016 elections saw millions of dollars in political spending from groups whose donors remain hidden from public view. The Michigan Campaign Finance Network analyzed TV ad-tracking data and reviewed thousands of pages of disclosures on ad purchases to determine at least $6 million was spent on political TV ads in 2016 by groups whose donors didn’t have to be disclosed. read more

posted on 02/27/2017

DeVos Family Has Made At Least $82 Million In Political Contributions Since 1999, According To Campaign Finance Disclosures

While it’s impossible for the public to find out exactly how much money West Michigan’s DeVos family has spent on politics over the years, the number must fall somewhere above $82 million. As the U.S. Senate considers whether to confirm Betsy DeVos, former chair of the Michigan Republican Party, as U.S. education secretary, the Michigan Campaign Finance Network (MCFN) attempted to track her family's extensive political giving over the years. read more

posted on 01/27/2017

Some Potential Candidates For Governor Are Sitting On Stockpiles Of Campaign Cash

Multiple political operatives said this week a candidate for Michigan governor in a competitive primary race in 2018 would likely need about $3 million dollars in funding to contend in the primary alone. Attorney General Bill Schuette, a Republican, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, a Republican, and U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, a Democrat — all potential candidates — are already on their way to that figure. And former Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, has officially begun her fundraising efforts. read more

posted on 01/06/2017

A Boom Truck, A Campaign Sign And A Question Of Corporate Influence

In the murky world of campaigns and corporate spending to influence politics, answers can be elusive. More than two years after a company's boom truck was used to fly a Michigan House candidate's sign above a busy stretch of road, there are still questions about why the effort wasn't disclosed as campaign spending. read more

posted on 01/04/2017

Snyder-Linked Nonprofit Raised $2.24 Million Last Year

A nonprofit organization linked to Gov. Rick Snyder raised $2.24 million from anonymous donors in 2015, its first year of existence, according to a new federal tax filing. That’s more than the NERD Fund, a previous nonprofit organization connected to Snyder’s administration, raised over the three years it was active. read more

posted on 11/23/2016

After More Than 15,000 TV Ads, Republicans’ State House Majority Holds

Democrats and Republicans combined to spend more than $4.4 million on broadcast TV ads aimed at swaying state House races this fall, according to ad-tracking data and disclosures available through Tuesday evening, Nov. 8. After all of that spending, Michigan Republicans held the 63-seat majority they won two years ago. read more

posted on 11/09/2016

GOP Michigan Supreme Court Nominees Have A $2.8-Million Money Advantage

For every $1 that’s gone to support the two Democratic nominees for the Michigan Supreme Court, the two Republican nominees have had about $34 in support. According to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network’s analysis of fundraising records and broadcast TV data, the GOP nominees for the state’s high court have seen more than $2.9 million in support for their campaigns with just days remaining before Tuesday’s election. read more

posted on 11/03/2016

$43 Million: State PACs Remain On Record Fundraising Pace For A Presidential Cycle

The most active 150 political committees in Michigan have raised $43.19 million so far this cycle, a 24 percent increase over where the top 150 PACs were at the same point in the 2012 cycle. The total — $43.19 million — is the most the top 150 committees have raised through Oct. 20 in a two-year presidential cycle in the state’s history. read more

posted on 10/28/2016

Spending On TV Ads In State House Races Blows By The $1-Million Mark

Michigan House candidates and their supporters have now aired an estimated $1.37 million in broadcast TV ads this fall, according to an analysis of Kantar Media ad-tracking data and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filings. That total — $1.37 million — is across 11 State House districts and includes ads that have run in the general election campaign through Monday, Oct. 24. read more

posted on 10/26/2016

Big Money At Work In Race For County Public Works Commissioner

Their campaigns have already combined to bring in about $1 million — with more on the way. Each candidate has accused the other of unethical behavior. And both candidates have raised money from individuals tied to businesses they could help employ if elected. It's the race between an incumbent and a member of Congress to be county public works commissioner. Read more at the link below. read more

posted on 09/15/2016

TV Ad Watch: Donald Trump Aired About $654k In Ads In Michigan

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s early September TV ad blast in Michigan amounted to an estimated $654,962 in ads across the state. With the election just under two months away, he's not the only candidate hitting the airwaves. The campaign of a candidate in the 7th Congressional District has already spent $370,000 on broadcast TV ads, and more than $1 million in ad time has been ordered in the 1st District. Read more by following the link below. read more

posted on 09/14/2016

The 10 Michigan House Races Drawing The Most Campaign Cash So Far And Where It's Coming From

With the Nov. 8 election two months away, money is already flowing in the battle for control of the Michigan House. Two races have passed the $200,000 fundraising mark, and many more will in the next weeks. Among the big donors to Democrats have been the Operating Engineers and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters. For Republicans, the DeVos family and Rep. Tom Leonard's PAC have written large checks. Read more and view an interactive graphic at the link below. read more

posted on 09/07/2016

Attorney Says He's 'Proud' Of Giving $200,000 To A Super PAC That Tried To Unseat A County Sheriff

Genesee County voters got to see the power of a single big donor this summer. An attorney who says he wanted to “put his money where his mouth was” gave at least $200,000 to a Super PAC, funding a vicious campaign to try to unseat Genesee County’s long-time sheriff in the Democratic primary. The attorney is Glen Lenhoff, who’s practiced law in Genesee County for 35 years but currently lives in Oakland County. Read more about the Super PAC New Sheriff In Town at the link below. read more

posted on 08/31/2016

Paper Or Plastic? In The Debate Over Local Plastic Bag Laws, One Side Has Been A Far Bigger Campaign Donor

A bill that would limit local governments' ability to regulate plastic bags has set off a debate between business groups that have made some big campaign contributions over the years, including a few donations reported received on the date of a key committee hearing, and environmental groups that have made their own contributions, on a much smaller scale. Read our full story at the link below. read more

posted on 08/30/2016

Touting A 'Looming Energy Shortfall,' Utility-Connected Nonprofit Spent $7.4 Million Last Year

Without having to disclose its donors, a nonprofit organization that’s tried to influence state lawmakers’ debate over energy policy spent $7.4 million in 2015, according to its newest tax filing. The money paid for phone calls, mail campaigns and hundreds of television ads. The group is called Citizens for Michigan's Energy Future, which has connections to the state's largest electric utilities and has promoted bills that the utilities support. Read more by following the link below. read more

posted on 08/18/2016

PAC $ Rankings: Michigan's Top Interest Groups Raising More Cash Than They Did In Past Prez Election Years

Michigan’s most active political action committees (PACs) continue to set a record fundraising pace for a presidential election cycle. The bump in fundraising is being driven by major interest groups, like Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Michigan Health and Hospital Association, increasing their activity and by the two House caucuses raising more than in past years. Read more by following the links below. read more

posted on 08/16/2016

Early Numbers: The Top Fundraiser Won 70 Percent Of Contested Michigan House Primary Races

The candidate who had access to the most money won about 70 percent of the contested State House primary races last week according to campaign finance reports available as of Election Day, Aug. 2. But when primary races in which the winning nominee has little or no chance in the general election are dropped from consideration, the impact of fundraising becomes even more profound. Read our full story on candidate fundraising and election outcomes by following the link below. read more

posted on 08/12/2016

How Secret Donors Tried To Shape Michigan's Next House GOP Caucus

In the days before Tuesday's election, two groups attacked at least seven Republican candidates across five different House districts, potentially impacting one-fifth of the races for open seats currently held by the House GOP. The late attacks tended to focus on candidates who were the more conservative options in competitive races and who were already at a fundraising disadvantage. Read our story and see the attacks by following the links below. read more

posted on 08/05/2016

The Dark Money Flows In Days Before Michigan's Primary Election

Alleging that one candidate thinks gun violence is a game and that another's ideas would "handcuff" police officers, dark money-funded mailers have been trying to sway Michigan voters in the days leading up to Tuesday's primary election. The attacks have come from nonprofit organizations, and some have falsely stated they were sent by previously dissolved PACs. And Michigan law allows the donors behind the mailers to remain secret. Read more by following the link below. read more

posted on 08/01/2016

56 State House Candidates Say The Role Of Money In Politics Deserves The Legislature's Attention

There will be State House candidates on many ballots across Michigan Tuesday who want to strengthen transparency laws and who believe the Legislature should do something about the role of money in politics. That’s according to the responses to questionnaires the Michigan Campaign Finance Network sent out in May to 225 State House candidates. To read more about their responses, follow the links below. read more

posted on 07/29/2016

DeVos Family Has Made $1.4 Million In Political Contributions In 2 Months Before Aug. 2 Primary

Voters across Michigan will head to the polls on Tuesday, Aug. 2, to determine which candidates will be on general election ballots in November. Voters will choose nominees for seats in the Michigan House and in the U.S. Congress. They'll also weigh in on races for local offices. There’s a lot at stake and a lot of money attempting to influence outcomes. MCFN will post stories in the days leading up to the primary following the money that can be traced and also the money that can’t be. Read our primary election coverage at the links below: read more

posted on 07/28/2016

The 16 House Races Drawing The Most Cash In 2016 And Where It's Coming From

A Northern Michigan doctor dipping into his own wallet, a Detroit incumbent trying to fend off primary challengers and an ex-lobbyist running in Jackson are drawing big dollars into three of the most expensive House races so far in 2016. Campaign finance reports for House candidates were due on Friday — days before the Aug. 2 primary election. The reports, the first disclosing dollars given to the candidates in 2016, covered fundraising between Jan. 1 and July 17. Read our coverage by following the links below. read more

posted on 07/25/2016

Biggest Game In Town: How More Than 100 Lobbyists Have Tried To Sway The State's Energy Overhaul

The ongoing debate over the future of energy in Michigan and who should pay for it has supercharged interest groups and the lobbyists they employ in Lansing. At least 145 registered lobbyists have either submitted official position statements to the Legislature’s two energy committees about pending energy reforms or are registered as working for the key players in the proposals. As one person watching the debate play out said of the large crop of interested parties, "Everyone gets an electric bill." Read our story by following the link below. read more

posted on 07/20/2016

Congressional Candidates Opened Their Own Wallets $1-Million Wide For Their Campaigns Last Quarter

Michigan candidates for Congress dug deep into their own pockets in the last months to support their campaigns, according to new disclosures that were due on Friday. Combined, Republicans running in contested primaries in the 1st and 10th districts loaned or gave their campaigns more than $1 million from April 1 through June 30. But no one has helped himself more than Republican Paul Mitchell who’s running in the open 10th District. Read more by following the links below. read more

posted on 07/18/2016

New Tool For Tracking The Flow Of Money To Lawmakers Debuts

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network has added a new digital tool to help members of the public trace donations to elected officeholders serving in Lansing. The donor-tracking tool provides ranked lists of top contributors to state lawmakers, their caucuses, the governor, the attorney general and the secretary of state. The tool covers donations across a variety of fundraising methods. Read more by following the links below. read more

posted on 07/07/2016

National Group Files Complaint Against Dark Money Michigan Nonprofit

In a new complaint, a national ethics group says a Michigan nonprofit appears to have made false statements to the Internal Revenue Service about its political spending. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, D.C., filed a complaint today with the IRS that says the Michigan Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility made contributions to political action committees but told the IRS the group hadn’t engaged in “direct or indirect political campaign activities on behalf of or in opposition to candidates for public office.” read more

posted on 06/15/2016

With Questionable Results, Ballot Campaigns Have Spent $3.5 Million

While it appears increasingly unlikely that any group will be able to gather enough petition signatures to put a proposal before Michigan voters in November, those who tried raised some $6.4 million and spent more than $3.5 million. The spending has been a boon for election attorneys, campaign consultants, polling companies and, most emphatically, petition circulators. Read our full piece by following the link below. read more

posted on 06/09/2016

Former Lawmaker Urges AG, SOS To Review State Of The City Event That Doubled As PAC Fundraiser

A former state lawmaker has formally requested that the Attorney General’s Office and Secretary of State’s Office investigate a State of the City luncheon that entangled public resources while doubling as a fundraiser for a PAC. In a letter to Attorney General Bill Schuette, former Rep. Leon Drolet alleges that Warren Mayor James Fouts’ 2016 State of the City address was “a blatant, open and obvious use of taxpayer resources” that helped a PAC raise money. Read more by following the links below. read more

posted on 06/08/2016

One Michigan Congressional Candidate Has Already Spent $94k On TV Ads

With two months before Michigan's August primary, Paul Mitchell, the Republican who’s investing heavily in his own U.S. House campaign, ran an estimated $94,332 in broadcast TV ads in the last two weeks of May. The ads mark the first of Michigan’s 2016 congressional races, according to tracking data from Kantar Media, which monitors ads. Mitchell’s campaign ran about 50 broadcast ads in the Detroit TV market last month, according to Kantar’s numbers. And according to federal filings, the campaign has already ordered more ad time for June. Read more by following the link below. read more

posted on 06/02/2016

Michigan's Biggest PACs Set Record Pace For Presidential Election Year

The interest groups and caucus committees that will help finance the fight for control of the Michigan House in 2016 are on a record fundraising pace for a presidential election year. It’s an indication that the 2016 State House campaigns could rank among the most expensive in Michigan’s history. At the end of the last reporting period, which closed on April 20, the top 150 Michigan political action committees (PACs) had raised $26.0 million. The number is a 17 percent increase over the same point in the 2012 cycle. read more

posted on 05/27/2016

Group Of Lawmakers Says Special Interests Have Too Much Influence, Proposes Limiting PAC Giving

As political action committees (PACs) continue to break fundraising records in Michigan, a bipartisan group of House members is hoping to decrease their influence. A bill, introduced earlier this month, would cut in half the maximum amount PACs can give state candidates. Currently, Michigan law allows PACs to give 10 times the maximum amount individuals can give. House Bill 5632, sponsored by Rep. Martin Howrylak (R-Troy), would reduce that multiplier to five. Read the full story by following the link below. read more

posted on 05/26/2016

A State Of The City Address That Entangles Public Resources, Fundraising And An Endorsement

One mayor's 2016 State of the City address is still drawing attention a month later, and it's not because of the policies he rolled out during the speech. The event raised thousands of dollars for a political action committee (PAC) while seeming to entangle public resources in the process. And although the event raised money for a PAC, city workers helped put together a video presentation that went with the speech, and, according to emails, the mayor's office directed one individual on how to get tickets. read more

posted on 05/20/2016

Big Donors Have Been Big Players In Fight Over Detroit Public Schools Turnaround

As Michigan’s largest school district faces a financial crisis, some of the state’s wealthiest campaign donors are entrenched in the fight over how to resolve it. Through press releases, lobbyists, well-timed personal phone calls and perhaps even a slice of pizza, major campaign donors and groups connected to them are working to influence the future of education in Detroit. Read our coverage by following the links below. read more

posted on 05/12/2016

Michigan House Member Aims To Boost Timeliness Of Lobbyist Reports

Lobbyists who shelled out record amounts in Michigan last year would have to release reports on their spending more frequently under a new proposal from a Republican State House member. Rep. Gary Glenn (R-Midland) says his new bill, HB 5535, would increase transparency and would improve the timeliness of reports on lobbyists’ efforts to influence state lawmakers. Read more about the bill by following the link below. read more

posted on 05/09/2016

See Who's Been Funding Key Lawmakers' Political Operations So Far This Year

Key state lawmakers collected more than $615,000 from interest groups and individuals for their own Political Action Committees (PACs) over the first four months of 2016. It’s money they can now use to boost candidates they support in upcoming elections. Legislators in leadership positions — or those who aspire to leadership positions — often use personal PACs to channel large donations they can earn to others. To see a breakdown of who's been raising the most money and of who's been giving to the state's leading legislators, follow the links below. read more

posted on 05/04/2016

Collecting Dough: How State Lawmakers Mix Fundraising, Legislating; And Sometimes Do Both

In 2015, state lawmakers held hundreds of fundraisers with the majority of them taking place within walking distance of the Capitol on legislative session days. There were at least 315 fundraisers held by state officeholders in 2015 with 170 of them happening in Lansing on days when at least the House was expected to be in session. This is the story of those events and one particular fundraiser that occurred this week benefiting a senator who spent much of the event a block away in a committee hearing. Read the piece by following the link below. read more

posted on 04/28/2016

Who's Helping Fund Gov. Snyder's Response In Flint? The Answer Is Clouded

As Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration makes use of a nonprofit organization to help respond to the water crisis in Flint, it’s impossible to tell where much of the money funding the nonprofit is really coming from. Over the last year, the Moving Michigan Forward Fund, which discloses its donors and the amounts they give, has taken $525,000 — 83 percent of its total haul over that period — from other nonprofits tied to Snyder that haven't met that level of disclosure. Read our full piece on the fund by following the link below. read more

posted on 04/22/2016

Dark Money Hits Township Level As Nonprofit Goes On Attack In Plymouth

State Rep. Kurt Heise (R-Plymouth Twp.), who’s running for Plymouth Twp. supervisor this year, still remembers the moment he discovered the dark-money-funded website bearing his name: www.HigherCrimeHeise.com. Over the last eight months, efforts to attack Heise tied to a nonprofit group have led to Freedom of Information Act requests, legal costs for the public and political feuding in one Wayne County township. Read our full story by following the link below. read more

posted on 04/20/2016

5 Michigan Congressional Races Drew More Than $500,000 In The Last 3 Months

Candidates hoping to serve Michigan in the U.S. House next year drew a combined $4.5 million from Jan. 1 through March 31, according to newly released campaign finance disclosures. And five races across the state surpassed the $500,000 mark for the three-month period. According to the new disclosures, one GOP candidate loaned his own campaign $900,000, one sitting House member raised $300,000 from PACs, and one Democratic candidate got $58,350 from donors in California. For MCFN's complete look at the money flowing into our congressional races, follow the links below. read more

posted on 04/18/2016

If Money Talks, Support Loudest Among Cruz's Michigan Delegates

If money is any indication, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) appears to have the most sincere crop of Michigan delegates heading into the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July. According to federal campaign finance disclosures, five of Cruz's 17 Michigan delegates have given directly to his campaign for president so far. Meanwhile, only one of Donald Trump's 25 Michigan delegates have given to his campaign, and only three of Ohio Gov. John Kasich's delegates have given to his campaign. Read more about contributions by the GOP delegates and by Democratic super delegates by following the link below. read more

posted on 04/14/2016

Michigan Donors Have Given More Than $5 Million To Super PACs Playing In Presidential Race So Far

Michigan has been the source of more than $5.2 million in contributions to Super PACs supporting or opposing presidential candidates, according to a new Michigan Campaign Finance Network (MCFN) analysis. One weathy Michigan family and one businessman have accounted for about half of that $5.2 million total. And the $5.2 million is in addition to $6.4 million that Michigan residents have given directly to presidential candidates. Read our full story by following the links below. read more

posted on 03/28/2016

Many Lawmakers Have Taken Thousands In Campaign Cash From Those Seeking To Influence Detroit Education Plan

As state lawmakers look to reshape public education in Michigan’s largest city, many of them have taken major campaign contributions from groups and individuals who are now seeking to influence the overhaul. Those donors include the powerful DeVos family, the Detroit Regional Chamber, the Michigan Education Association and the Great Lakes Education Project. MCFN has tracked six groups that have weighed in on education plans for Detroit and those groups' donations to lawmakers for 2014 and 2015. Read our coverage at the link below. read more

posted on 03/22/2016

Presidential Campaigns Aired More Than $10.6 Million In TV Ads In Michigan

Presidential candidates and Super PACs supporting them ran more than $10.6 million in broadcast TV ads in Michigan to try to sway voters ahead of the state's March 8 primary. With about 2.5 million voters participating in the primary, that total amounted to more than $4 per primary voter. It also easily surpassed the amount spent on TV ads for the 2012 presidential primary in Michigan, $6.4 million. The candidate who spent the most on TV ads was Democrat Bernie Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont. To read our full story, follow the link below. read more

posted on 03/16/2016

UPDATE: TV Ad Spending Has Surpassed $8M In Michigan, Buying Surged Last Week

Presidential candidates and their supporters dumped money into Michigan in the last days before the primary election, buying $6 million in ads in the state over the seven-day period from Feb. 29 through March 6, which was Sunday. That $6-million figure, which is based on Kantar Media ad tracking data, is nearly as much as the $6.4 million that was spent on ads for the entire 2012 presidential primary. This time around, as of March 6, with two days remaining, there had been more than $8 million spent. Read our full story by following the link below. read more

posted on 03/08/2016

How A Storefront In Grandville Connects To Big Money Flowing Into Presidential Race

Just off Sanford Avenue in the 15,000-person city of Grandville, Michigan, there’s a small business plaza featuring two lines of glass storefront windows. One of the storefronts sits at 2885 Sanford Ave. SW. It’s an address that keeps showing up in campaign finance reports this cycle. And it’s one that also illustrates just how difficult it can be to find out where the money flowing into the presidential race is coming from, even when the donations are disclosed to the federal government. Read our full story by following the link below. read more

posted on 03/07/2016

After Ad Missteps, Dark Money Group Agrees To Pay $17,696 Fine

Some 500 days after complaints were first filed, the Secretary of State’s Office has finally reached an agreement on the penalty for a dark money group that ran ads specifically touting two candidates "for Senate" in the fall of 2014. According to paperwork dated March 2, the Michigan Jobs and Labor Foundation agreed to a civil fine of $17,696. The agreement came Wednesday after the Michigan Campaign Finance Network and Detroit Free Press columnist Brian Dickerson highlighted the then yet-to-be-resolved complaints earlier in the week. Read more by following the links below. read more

posted on 03/03/2016

Update: Sanders, Clinton Have Combined For $2.2M In Ads

The amount presidential campaigns are spending on TV advertising in Michigan skyrocketed last week with Democrats Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton having now invested about $1 million each. The Democratic candidates had combined for $2.2 million in broadcast TV ads, as of Feb. 28, with nine days left before the March 8 primary. Republican candidates and the Super PACs supporting them had spent only $125,521. For more on the latest TV ad numbers, follow the links below. read more

posted on 03/02/2016

State Tells Dark Money Group That Violated Law To Pretend Super PAC Existed

In the fall of 2014, one of Michigan’s most active dark money groups slipped up and blatantly violated campaign finance law. What’s played out since raises questions about how our laws are being enforced, how long that process takes and how we can add transparency to the process. The nonprofit Michigan Jobs and Labor Foundation ran ads featuring two GOP Senate candidates that crossed the line between issue advocacy, which doesn't require donor disclosure, and express advocacy, which requires disclosure. The misstep led Democrats to file complaints with the Secretary of State's Office. So far, the office has told the nonprofit to file the necessary paperwork to form a Super PAC. But the office also says work on the complaints is ongoing, nearly a year and half after the 2014 election. Read more by following the links below. read more

posted on 03/01/2016

Early On, Sanders Is Outspending Clinton On Michigan TV Ads

As of Sunday, Democrat Bernie Sanders had run three times as many broadcast TV ads in Michigan markets as his opponent, Hillary Clinton, had. According to tracking by Kantar Media, Sanders’ campaign ran 676 ads across five Michigan markets as of Sunday while Clinton’s campaign had run 211 ads. Sanders’ campaign had spent $319,037 while Clinton’s campaign had spent $100,001. As of Sunday, the campaigns of Sanders and Clinton were the only ones running ads on broadcast TV stations in Michigan. For more, follow the links below. read more

posted on 02/24/2016

Michigan Donors To Super PACs Nearly Matched Michigan Donors To Candidates In January

A handful of Michigan donors to presidential Super PACs  gave nearly as much money in January as hundreds of Michigan donors who gave directly to the presidential candidates. According to campaign finance reports released over the weekend, donors who listed Michigan addresses gave about $638,500 to the candidate committees of eight presidential candidates, including Republican Jeb Bush, who has now suspended his campaign. But January saw almost equal financial support from Michigan donors who gave large contributions to Super PACs that are supporting the candidates. MCFN tracked $620,500 in contributions from five Michigan-based donors to the Super PACs. read more

posted on 02/22/2016

Spending On Lobbying Hit Record High In 2015

Lobbyists reported spending more money trying to sway Michigan lawmakers in 2015 than any year before. According to disclosure reports filed this month, lobbyists spent a grand total of $38.7 million in 2015. That’s a $1.7 million increase over 2014, and a $1.6 million increase over the previous annual record of $37.1 million from 2012. Not only is there more money trying to influence Michigan’s elected officials, there are more lobbyists as well. There were 2,998 lobbyists and lobbyist agents registered in Michigan in 2015, up from the previous record of 2,959 in 2012. To read more, follow the links below. read more

posted on 02/18/2016

Michigan Lawmakers Got More Free Lunches In 2015

Lobbyists reported treating state lawmakers and other public officials to $844,184 in food and drinks in 2015. That number, reported in the state’s food and beverage disclosure category, is a new high and more than twice the amount that was reported in 2001. According to disclosures filed this month, 11 lawmakers benefited from more than $2,000 in lobbyist-paid food and drinks in 2015, and 35 benefited from more than a $1,000 in lobbyist-purchased food and drinks. For perspective, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the per-capita amount spent on food for the U.S. for the entirety of 2014 was $4,576. For more, follow the links below. read more

posted on 02/17/2016

Gov. Snyder Went On Most Expensive Lobbyist-Paid Trip Of 2015

Gov. Rick Snyder received more in lobbyist-paid lodging and travel in 2015 than any other public official. And for Snyder, it all came in the form of a trip to California in early October. According to lobbying disclosure reports due this month, the Ford Motor Company paid $3,232 for travel and l... read more

posted on 02/15/2016

Presidential Ad Battle Poised To Hit Michigan Next Week

The presidential race’s TV advertising battle could begin unfolding on Michigan TV screens as early as next week. According to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filings, a Super Political Action Committee (Super PAC) that’s been backing Republican candidate Jeb Bush already has at least $741,585 in ad time reserved with Michigan broadcast stations running up to the March 8 primary. The ads were originally scheduled to begin on Feb. 15, which is Monday. However, multiple stations have filed revisions, showing that the ads airing with them have been pushed backed to Feb. 17, which is Wednesday. read more

posted on 02/12/2016

The $4-Million Push To Influence Michigan Energy Law

The push to influence Michigan’s energy overhaul likely soared beyond $4 million in 2015. The total includes an estimated $2.5 million in broadcast TV advertising by a single group, $823,444 in lobbying expenses and $667,245 in donations to campaigns tied to state officeholders. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and state lawmakers set out in 2015 to redesign state laws that regulate energy standards and competition among energy companies. While no proposals made it through the Legislature last year, the effort to influence the ultimate outcome was unrelenting. Read our full report by following the top link below. read more

posted on 02/11/2016

PACs Raised More Than $22 Million During 2015

Political action committees (PACs) that seek to influence lawmakers and sway Michigan voters raised more than $22.6 million in 2015 with $20.1 million of that total by the 150 most active committees. All of that fundraising came during an off-year. And while 2014 saw a gubernatorial race and State Senate races that won’t be on the ballot this year, 2015 PAC fundraising wasn’t far off the pace of 2013. In 2013, the top 150 PACs raised $22.2 million. So despite the fact that the upcoming election will focus mostly on the battle for the State House, the drop-off in 2015 was only about $2.1 million — or about 9 percent. read more

posted on 02/09/2016

Campaign Legal Center: Senate Super PAC Bill Goes 'Well Beyond' Citizens United

The Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan nonprofit based in Washington, D.C, submitted an analysis this week of the Michigan Senate bill that would broaden the potential connection between candidates and Super PACs that receive take unlimited contributions. While the bill, Senate Bill 638, has been touted as a way to simply put the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in Michigan law, The Campaign Legal Center says it goes well beyond that, “allowing candidates to coordinate nearly every aspect of their supporters’ ‘independent’ expenditures.” Read the full analysis below. read more

posted on 02/04/2016

Ballot Proposal Update: Ann Arbor Man Has Given $250K To Campaign To Legalize Marijuana

An Ann Arbor resident has single-handedly provided $250,000 to a ballot campaign that aims to legalize marijuana in Michigan, according to new campaign finance reports. That Ann Arbor resident is Kevin McCaffery, 54, who’s listed as the president of RKB Enterprises Inc. In the last fundraising period, which covered Oct. 21 until Dec. 31, McCaffery gave $200,000 to the MI Legalize campaign, which would legalize all forms of marijuana for adults 21 and older. McCaffery previously gave another $50,000 to the effort. For more on MI Legalize's latest campaign finance report and those of other ballot committees, follow the link below. read more

posted on 02/04/2016

Term-Limited Schuette, Calley Were Top Fundraisers Among Candidates In Last Months Of 2015

Attorney General Bill Schuette and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley — two term-limited Republicans — raised more money in their candidate committees than other candidates for state office in the last months of 2015. Schuette reported raising $230,623 in the most recent reporting period while Calley reported raising $228,500. Those were the largest numbers posted for the period by any candidate committee, according to Secretary of State data. read more

posted on 02/03/2016

Max Donors Boosted Fight To Win State House By $920,000 In 2015

Boosted by 18 donors who combined to give $720,000, Michigan House Republicans brought in more campaign cash than the three other caucuses in 2015, according to year-end reports due to the state on Monday. The House Republican Campaign Committee raised $1.79 million in 2015. Of that total, $720,000 — or 40 percent — came from 18 donors who each gave the maximum yearly amount possible, $40,000. The House Democratic Fund had five maximum donors who gave a combined $200,000. read more

posted on 02/02/2016

Bush, Clinton Lead Competitors In Fundraising From Michigan

Michigan voters don’t head to the polls for the state’s presidential primary for another month. But already, donors from Michigan have chipped in more than $5 million to committees backing presidential candidates. That number represents $4.04 million given to presidential contenders’ candidate committees and another $999,275 given to super PACs (political action committees) supporting the candidates. When it comes to the candidate committees alone, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush raised the most in Michigan in 2015 at $985,067. Finishing in second was Dr. Ben Carson, a Detroit native, who raised $692,068. As for Democrats, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton raised the most money in Michigan at $640,070. read more

posted on 02/01/2016

Doubling Contribution Limits Added At Least $6.3M To Michigan Elections In '14

Michigan lawmakers’ decision to double contribution limits in advance of the 2014 election ballooned campaign coffers by at least $6.3 million in contributions that previously would have been prohibited. The Michigan Campaign Finance Network (MCFN) analyzed thousands of contributions to candidates in the last election to determine how much money came in from donors above the state’s previous contribution caps. read more

posted on 01/29/2016

Citizens United v. FEC: Six Years Later

On Jan. 21, 2010, six years ago today, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that government cannot limit independent spending in our elections by corporations and labor groups. So in honor of the past six years, we're sharing six quotes from Justice John Paul Stevens' dissenting opinion. read more

posted on 01/21/2016