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dark money

Money
User 401(K) 2012 / Flickr http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

If you’ve been online recently, chances are you’ve seen a few political ads popping up in your social media feeds. Behind the scenes, big money is flowing to some of Michigan’s contested races. Detroit News reporter Craig Mauger has been tracking where that money ends up. 

Beach
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

 

Today on Stateside, an update on the partnership agreements school districts signed with the state to avoid school closures in 2017. Plus, we talk to our Friday political commentators about the recent indictment of state Representative Larry Inman (R-Traverse City), and the effect of “dark money” on the public's trust in government.

 

CEME

Consumers Energy has agreed to stop giving money to non-profit political advocacy groups for two years, under the terms of a rate case settlement agreement with the Michigan Public Service Commission.

That's after the state's largest utility gave more than $43 million between 2014 and 2017 to a controversial dark money PAC to oppose issues and defeat political candidates it did not like.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder is moving into his final week on the job, but he’s still got a lot left to do.

Last week, the legislature sent the governor the last of more than 400 bills and resolutions passed during their lame duck session after the November election.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The governor’s desk is the next stop for a bill to protect the identities of non-profit donors, including to political advocacy groups.

It would be a misdemeanor for a public official to require non-profits to disclose their donor list for government review under the legislation the state House approved today. 

State Senator Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) defends his bill against charges it’s intended to shield big name political donors trying to influence Michigan politics.

Courtesy of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network

Tomorrow is Election Day. It’s an off-year election focused on local issues and races.

But there’s still plenty of money being poured into these local races – dark money, out-of-state money, and SuperPAC money.

Craig Mauger from the Michigan Campaign Finance Network joined Stateside today to explain how money influences our local politics, and how hard it can be to track that money.

picture of Michigan legislative chambers
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

 


The Michigan Senate yesterday passed legislation that could vastly increase corporate and special interest spending on campaigns.

Vicki Barnett, a former mayor of Farmington Hills and a former Democratic legislator, and Joe Haveman, a former chair of the Michigan House Appropriations Committee and a current candidate for state Senate joined Stateside on Friday to discuss.

Trying to fix Michigan's disgraceful legislative ethics

Mar 20, 2017

When it comes to ethics and integrity in government, Michigan is a disgrace. That’s not just my opinion. A little over a year ago, the Center for Public Integrity ranked our legislature worst among the fifty states in an analysis of state government transparency and accountability. We have few restraints on legislative behavior.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report is raising questions about transparency in Michigan Supreme Court elections.

Craig Mauger is with the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. He says in 2016 so-called "dark money" helped the two Republican incumbents outspend their Democratic challengers by more than 30 to one.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

 

This week two stories were released about secretive funds benefiting Michigan legislators and the Republican and Democratic parties.

The stories were a joint investigation of MLive and the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

Courtesy of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network

It looks like dark money groups were hard at work trying to influence your vote during last week’s primary – particularly targeting Republicans running for the State House.

Craig Mauger heads up the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

“This was an effort, a well-orchestrated effort, to keep extremely conservative candidates out of the House GOP caucus,” Mauger told us.

He sat down with us today to talk about what role these secret donors play, and why they’re so hard to identify.

hand with money
Pictures of Money / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A Washington D.C. group has filed a complaint against a Michigan non-profit for its political spending.

Citizens for Responsible Ethics, or CREW, filed a complaint with the IRS against Michigan Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility. 

Jordan Libowitz is with CREW. He says Michigan Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility failed to report  $290,000 in political spending in 2014.  He says that violates the group's non-profit status.

"So we're seeing a disturbing trend with more and more groups trying to get away with this because they think they can," Libowitz says.