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 new 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, including political action committees, administrative accounts and disclosing nonprofits.
While candidate committees are the way officeholders raise money to spend on their own races, many lawmakers raise more money through other accounts. The many methods of fundraising in Michigan complicate the public’s ability to track gifts from special interests to officeholders.
“Right now, it can be difficult for a member of the public to find the true answer to the question of who’s given the most to my representative,” said Craig Mauger, executive director of MCFN. “The idea behind this new tool is simple: Make it easier for people to investigate who’s written the largest disclosed checks over time to benefit specific elected officials.”
The donor-tracking tool identifies top donors to a lawmaker as determined by accumulated totals of contributions to the various funds controlled by the lawmaker and includes individual top donor lists for specific lawmaker-connected funds, per election cycle.
The public can use the new tool by visiting www.mcfn.org/donor-tracking.php or by going to www.mcfn.org and clicking on “following the money” at the top of the page. Visitors can browse a list of elected state officials or can search for a specific official through the page’s search function.
MCFN, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization, plans to update the data on a regular basis as new campaign finance reports, Internal Revenue Service reports and voluntary disclosures are released.