LANSING - Michigan's top 150 state PACS raised $16,739,990 from January 1 through October 20, 2013, according to data compiled by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network from reports filed with the Michigan Bureau of Elections and the Wayne County Clerk's office. That figure is up by 32.3 percent compared to fundraising by the top 150 PACs during the corresponding period of last election cycle, and 38.8 percent ahead of the pace of the top 150 PACs in the 2010 election cycle.
Turnaround Detroit, a SuperPAC supporting the candidacy of Detroit mayoral candidate Mike Duggan, is the leading committee so far this election cycle, having raised $2.8 million. The committee was first organized as a Wayne County PAC, then dissolved and registered as a state PAC.
SuperPACs are free to take unlimited contributions from corporations, as well as individuals and non-corporate PACs, but they are not allowed to contribute directly to candidates' campaign committees. They are limited to making independent expenditures.
Between its Wayne County and state incarnations, Turnaround Detroit has received contributions of $500,000 from Roger Penske, $500,000 from Penske Corporation, $210,000 from Vanguard Health (the now-owner of Mr. Duggan's former employer, the Detroit Medical Center), $200,000 from Peter Karmanos, $150,000 from PVS Chemicals, $125,000 from DTE Energy, $110,000 from the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, $100,000 from Caidan Management Company, $100,000 from Richard Manoogian and $96,600 from Robert Thompson.
The SuperPAC backing Mr. Duggan's opponent in the Detroit mayoral election, Wayne County Sherriff Benny Napoleon, reports that it has raised $303,750, ranking tenth on the top 150 list so far this election cycle. Detroit Forward's reported top donor is the Michigan Community Education Fund (MCEF), a nonprofit corporation founded a month ago by Christopher Jackson. Reports show MCEF made contributions adding up to $64,000 (although the reported cumulative total of contributions is $89,000). Matty Moroun's Central Transport and Louisiana-based Fodale Energy each are reported to have contributed $50,000 to Detroit Forward.
As is customary, the legislative caucuses' PACs rank high on the list of Michigan's top state PACs. The House Republican Campaign Committee is second on the list with $1,073,183; the Senate Republican Campaign Committee is third with $833,975; the House Democratic Fund is fourth with $764,307; and the Senate Democratic Fund is ninth with $329,425.
The list of the top ten PACs is completed by familiar names: Blue Cross/Blue Shield PAC is fifth with $473,002; The United Auto Workers Michigan PAC is sixth with $400,000; the Michigan Association of Realtors PAC is seventh with $388,526; and the Michigan Health and Hospital Association is eighth with $350,418.
Aside from the battle for Detroit, the leading SuperPACs so far this cycle are Business Leaders for Michigan PAC II, 11th with $274,000; and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce PAC III, 28th with $118,001.
Term-limited Sen. Roger Kahn has the leading officeholder's leadership PAC at this point. His Michigan Jobs Fund ranks 27th with $124,300. House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel has the second-ranked leadership PAC with $95,205, good for 35th place. Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville has the third-ranked leadership PAC with $91,475, placing 38th overall.
Leadership PACs provide interesting suggestions of the leadership races that will unfold to replace the Legislature's term-limited leaders, Sen. Richardville and Speaker of the House Jase Bolger. On the Senate side, Majority Floor Leader Arlan Meekhof now has three active leadership PACs, and Sen. Mike Kowall has formed two new leadership PACS. Officeholders form multiple leadership PACs so they can court votes for leadership with multiple maximum PAC contributions to their caucus mates.
On the House side, Rep. Al Pscholka has the leading leadership PAC among Republican representatives who are not term-limited with $69,420. His total is followed by Rep. Mike Callton with $60,963, Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons with $55,720, Rep. Ken Yonker with $46,750, Rep. Aric Nesbitt with $44,475 and Rep. Frank Foster with $28,350.
Gov. Rick Snyder's One Tough Nerd PAC has raised $50,025, while his 527 committee, the Governor's Club, has reported raising $148,000 through June 30th of this year. Contributions to One Tough Nerd are all from individual persons. Contributions to the Governor's Club came mainly from corporations, rather than persons: $123,000 versus $25,000.
Correction: This release has been corrected to include the leadership PACs of Reps. Lisa Posthumus Lyons and Ken Yonker in the list of top leadership PACs of Republican representatives who are not term-limited. They were inadvertently omitted in the original release.