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State Senate moves to limit Secretary of State's proposed disclosure rules

WKAR, Kevin Lavery


Secretary of State Ruth Johnson proposed changing disclosure requirements for so-called "issue ads," but the state Senate moved quickly on Thursday to nullify any changes. 

WMUK's Gordon Evans asked Michigan Campaign Finance Network Executive Director Rich Robinson how important Johnson's proposed changes could be for disclosing donors. Robinson says it would not have had any effect in the 2014 elections but could be important in the future. 

Johnson was acting on a request from the State Bar of Michigan. They wanted to require groups airing issue ads in judicial campaigns to disclose their donors. Robinson says she chose to "punt" in a way that would take 12 to 18 months to complete the rule-making process. 

Robinson says there is a distinction between issue ads and election ads. But he says ads that talk about how bad a candidate is in the days before an election are in a special category. Robinson says a lot remains to be resolved in the area of "dark money" and who is paying for campaigns and elections. 

On the Gongwer blog, Danielle Emerson has a look at the wild day in the Senate and the back and forth between reporters and Senate leaders. 

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.