PAC fundraising continues to lag behind past cycles

LANSING – Fundraising by Lansing’s leading political action committees (PACs) continues to lag compared to the last two election cycles. The state’s top 150 PACs raised $12,062,243 through October 20th, according to data compiled by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network from reports filed with the Michigan Bureau of Elections. That figure is down by 10.8 percent compared to the 2007-2008 cycle, when the top 150 PACs had raised $13,519,468; and it is down by 12.9 percent compared to the 2005-2006, when the top 150 had raised $13,851,943.

The legislative caucuses’ PACs are among the leaders this cycle, as is customary. However, their take is down significantly. The House Democrats lead the list with $848,246, down by 21.2 percent. The Senate Republicans are second with $533,357, down by 43.0 percent.

Blue Cross / Blue Shield has the leading interest group PAC so far this cycle in third place at $467,996, up by 21.6 percent compared to two years ago.

The House Republicans are fourth at $411,104 (down 49.4 percent) and the Senate Democrats are fifth with $409,733 (down 1.1 percent). Notably, the House Republicans have a negative net position with $150,000 residual debt from last cycle and only $56,800 in cash on hand.

Twelve of the top 20 PACs are down in fundraising, while eight have gained.

Among officeholders’ leadership PACs, Speaker Andy Dillon has taken in the most cash at $242,770, down 26.9 percent. Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop is second with $179,739, down by 10.4 percent. Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano had the third greatest take among leadership PACs at $152,050, up by an impressive 1300 percent compared to last cycle.

“I don’t think we should worry about the interest groups and their PACs,” said Rich Robinson of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. “They’re keeping the officeholders’ campaign accounts well lubricated, and when prominent political players are capable of writing six or seven-figure checks, a down season can turn upward in a heartbeat.”

Press Release 2009 News