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WSW: Following the Money in Michigan Campaigns

Michigan Campaign Finance Network

The spending on political campaigns in Michigan last year was more likely to come outside groups than the campaigns of individual candidates. 

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network recently released its Citizen’s Guide to Michigan Campaign Finance 2014. The watchdog group finds that the source of much of that spending is and will remain secret.

Executive Director Rich Robinson told WMUK’s Gordon Evans that independent groups drove up the price tag of statewide races. He says the few competitive races for state Legislature also attracted more spending from outside groups. 

Interview with Rich Robinson - web version

The 20th district state Senate race in Kalamazoo County was the most expensive race ever for the Michigan Senate. It was also the closest race for a legislative district in the state. Robinson says people spending money on political campaigns hope to influence the outcome. With only a few relatively close races, they can target a lot of money into a few places to tip the scales one way or another.

Robinson recently wrote about Michigan’s campaign finance system for Bridge. He says campaign finance rules in Michigan don’t allow for the disclosure that other states have. But Robinson says that has become part of the political culture in Michigan. He says unless a petition drive is launched, that’s not likely to change.

Gordon Evans became WMUK's Content Director in 2019 after more than 20 years as an anchor, host and reporter. A 1990 graduate of Michigan State, he began work at WMUK in 1996.
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