By SIMON D. SCHUSTER
Michigan Campaign Finance Network
LANSING (April 23, 2021) — PAC contributions fell sharply for Michigan’s five U.S. representatives who attempted to overturn or delay the certification of the 2020 election, according to an analysis of quarterly disclosures filed last week with the Federal Election Commission.
For some of the objectors it was the lowest amount they had received since entering office when compared to this quarter in prior election cycles.
Reps. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet), Tim Walberg (R-Tipton) and Lisa McClain (R-Bruce Twp.) voted to object to election certification after the U.S. Capitol riot Jan. 6. Their reported contributions from unrelated political action committees were among the lowest in Michigan’s delegation, a reflection of the widespread pressure on special interests to withhold donations following the vote.
Though PAC donations were lower across Michigan’s congressional delegation — some corporate PACs, such as Detroit’s Quicken Loans, paused all giving in the wake of the riot — the objectors saw far more dramatic reductions.
Walberg, who is in his seventh term, raised $6,800, the least PAC contributions he’s received as a congressman in the first quarter after an election. McClain, who largely self-funded her campaign, received $12,500 in PAC contributions, while Bergman received $44,500 after excluding his own leadership PAC, less than half of what he raised in 2017.
Four Michigan representatives had also signed a letter urging the U.S. Supreme Court to, in part, delay Michigan and other states from certifying their election results. Walberg and Bergman signed along with Reps. Bill Huizenga (R-Zeeland) and John Moolenaar (R-Midland). The latter two also saw significant decreases in PAC contributions.
Huizenga raised $49,000 from PACs, compared with $200,000 or more for this quarter in 2017 and 2019. The $29,500 Moolenaar received from PACs was his lowest sum since entering office in 2010.
Some PACs had resumed by the end of March, including auto manufacturer Toyota. They gave $5,000 to Bergman and $1,000 to Walberg, as first reported by Bridge Michigan.
These differences come with some important caveats as Michael Beckel, the research director for Issue One, noted in an interview with the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.
"Of course, not every lawmaker is under the same amount of pressure to raise money. Members of Congress in districts that are likely to be competitive races face extreme pressure to raise money for their reelection efforts," he told MCFN in an email. "Meanwhile, members of Congress who are in safe seats electoral may be under less pressure to raise money for their campaign war chests, though some — especially those in leadership roles, including committee and subcommittee chairs and ranking members — face pressure from the DCCC or NRCC to raise money to help the party, i.e., to pay their 'party dues.'"
Two representatives in solidly blue districts, Debbie Dingell (D-12) and Brenda Lawrence (D-14), received less PAC donations than some of the five who tried to contest the election. The Dingell family has continuously represented Michigan in Congress since 1933. The $44,500 she received is largely in line with previous filings, as is the $45,500 raised from PACs by Lawrence. The only candidate to see a decrease in PAC contributions anywhere similar to the objectors’ was Dan Kildee, who raised $75,600.
The two Michigan Republicans who voted to both certify the election and later impeach former president Donald Trump, Reps. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) and Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids), received the first and third-most PAC contributions of Michigan’s representatives, respectively.
Still, overall contributions to Michigan’s delegation in the U.S. House still increased slightly as compared to past quarters, buoyed largely by an increase in individual contributions, which exceeded PAC contributions among Michigan’s U.S. House Delegation for the quarter, $2.4 million to $1.3 million, respectively. Rep Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) raised more than $600,000 from individuals, and Haley Stevens (D-Rochester) raised about $350,000.
Many of the pledges made by corporate PACs and other interests groups to halt contributions were temporary. When and if they will resume will depend largely on public pressure and
See link below for a graphic of the change in contributions.
|Total Itemized PAC Contributions from April Quarterly Filings||2017||2019||2021|
|Jack Bergman (R-1): Voted to overturn||$92,500||$159,878||$44,500|
|Bill Huizenga (R-2): Signed Supreme Court Brief||$196,523||$227,545||$49,000|
|Peter Meijer (R-3)||$179,692|
|John Moolenaar (R-4): Signed Supreme Court Brief||$39,745||$63,223||$29,500|
|Dan Kildee (D-5)||$119,600||$159,350||$75,600|
|Fred Upton (R-6)||$164,808||$286,778||$230,689|
|Tim Walberg (R-7): Voted to overturn||$91,000||$201,818||$6,588|
|Elissa Slotkin (D-8)||$107,100||$161,139|
|Andy Levin (D-9)||$14,000||$90,800|
|Lisa McClain (R-10): Voted to overturn||$12,500|
|Haley Stevens (D-11)||$153,700||$203,001|
|Debbie Dingell (D-12)||$26,500||$70,750||$42,500|
|Rashida Tlaib (D-13)||$3,373||$83,012|
|Brenda Lawrence (D-14)||$40,000||$63,000||$45,500|
|Sander Levin (D-9 [Former])||$36,750|
|Mike Bishop (R -8 [former])||$123,386|
|Justin Amash (R-3 [former])||$6,600|
|David Trott (R-11 [former])||$52,891|
Source: Federal Election Commission filings. Note: Some cells may be blank as the representative had not yet entered office.