"A victory for transparency" that might have little effect on Michigan campaign spending | Michigan Radio
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"A victory for transparency" that might have little effect on Michigan campaign spending

Sep 19, 2018

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court this week will likely have little effect on campaign spending in this fall’s election in Michigan.

The high court denied a request on Tuesday by Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, which sought to stay a lower court ruling forcing it to reveal its secret donors.   

In August, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia invalidated a Federal Election Commission regulation allowing donors giving to groups like Crossroads to remain anonymous.

The decision affects third party groups advocating for or against candidates for the U.S. Senate and House seats. This fall, all of Michigan’s U.S. House seats and one of its seats in the U.S. Senate are on the ballot.  

Craig Mauger is the executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. He calls the decision a rare victory for transparency. But Mauger also expects groups that handle so-called dark money will continue to try to work in the shadows.

“The groups that want to anonymously affect our elections will try to find ways to continue doing that,” says Mauger.

Mauger expects dark money groups will shift their anonymous campaign donations to state races where they can continue to keep their donor list secret. Also, so-called issue ads that are often thinly veiled attacks on particular candidates are not covered by this decision.