LANSING -- The presidential television ad war in Michigan continues to unfold unlike anywhere else in America. Through Labor Day, a group of superPACs and nonprofit "social welfare" corporations opposing President Barack Obama and supporting Republican nominee Mitt Romney has spent $10.9 million. Neither candidate committee, nor any committee supporting Obama, has bought any television advertising.
Spending data were compiled by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network from the public files of Michigan broadcasters and cable systems. Figures do not include spending from the month before Michigan's February 28th presidential primary, when Obama, Romney, Rick Santorum and their respective superPACs all bought advertising.
The Michigan advertising through mid-May was sponsored by a rotating group of clients of the Mentzer Media firm. Four of the groups are nonprofit 501-c-4 advocacy corporations that do not disclose their donors: Americans for Prosperity, American Future Fund, American Energy Alliance and 60 Plus Alliance. The fifth committee was the pro-Romney superPAC, Restore Our Future, which does disclose its donors.
From mid-May through the first week of August, Crossroads GPS, a 501-c-4 corporation, and the superPAC American Crossroads paid for all the Michigan TV advertising. The superPAC Restore Our Future bought the advertising during the last three weeks of August.
"Michigan voters need to understand that more than 70 percent of the presidential advertising they have seen since March 1st was sponsored by nonprofit corporations that do not disclose their donors," said Rich Robinson of the nonpartisan Michigan Campaign Finance Network.
"Political speech without accountability is a perversion of the First Amendment, not a cause for celebration. Every candidate to represent Michigan in Congress should be asked what they intend to do about this disgraceful practice of political money laundering.