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Politics & Government

Outside groups outspend Michigan candidates on campaign TV ads

About 13% of Michiganders are undecided – enough to possibly make a difference this year
User: Keith Ivey
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A new report finds that for every dollar spent by a Michigan candidate in campaign ads, outside groups have spent $3.50.

Looking at it another way: of the $18 million spent on campaign TV ads over the first half of this year, outside groups paid for $14 million of that.

Rich Robinson, executive director of the campaign spending watchdog group Michigan Campaign Finance Network, talked about the consequences of outside money in Michigan political campaigns.

“It makes the development of public policy more responsive to the money interests that are driving the campaigns, but those interests don’t necessarily reflect the interest of the broad public,” he said.

Robinson added that since elections have been nationalized, the financing is not just a function of state interest groups or individuals. That goes for the gubernatorial as well as the U.S. Senate race. Also, outside groups don’t have the same disclosure laws as the candidates. “Of the $6.3 million spent by independent third party groups in the U.S. Senate race on the Republican side, only $300,000 comes from disclosed sources,” Robinson said,  “That means 95% is coming from anonymous sources.”

“Transparency is an inoculation to corruption,” Robinson stressed, “We really need to have transparency restored to our campaign finance process, at all levels, state or federal.”

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