Over 2017 and 2018, the state's largest 150 political action committees smashed their past fundraising record for a two-year election cycle. The PACs combined to raise $97 million, which is up 42 percent over the previous high total. Super PACs and PACs connected to individual officeholders had a lot to do with why the 2017-2018 total broke the record.
While there are limits on what donors can give directly to state officeholders' campaigns, those same officeholders can accept unlimited amounts of money through leadership PACs. Some of the state's highest ranking officials are receiving big contributions through their PACs and using the money to fund like-minded candidates. We track which donors have been contributing the most to lawmakers' PACs.
With all 148 seats in the state Legislature on the ballot in 2018, donors are investing heavily in the Republicans who could lead the House and Senate next year if the GOP maintains control. Meanwhile, Democratic candidates for leadership jobs have fallen well behind their GOP counterparts in PAC fundraising.
Leadership PACs are becoming a more powerful player in Michigan politics. It's a trend that gives donors the ability to make unlimited contributions to a wider array of elected officials and that gives lawmakers who can attract donors the ability to wield more influence.
posted on 03/16/2018
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