July 29, 2021
July 29, 2021
Lansing, Mich., July 29, 2021 – Governor Gretchen Whitmer has illegally collected unlimited campaign funds, and a campaign finance complaint filed over this illegal activity must be acted on immediately by Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s Bureau of Elections.
A closer review of Whitmer’s campaign finance report shows that the campaign has already utilized funds that were contributed over the legal limit. These donations, in the form of in-kind contributions, cannot be returned to donors or turned over to a political party committee. As such, these contributions are against the law.
The first example of Whitmer’s campaign already utilizing the illegal funds is from donor Christopher Brochert. As of May 18, 2021, Brochert had made three contributions to Whitmer’s campaign totaling $5,215. On June 2, 2021, Mr. Brochert provided an in-kind contribution in the amount of $6,672.35, for a cumulative contribution of $11,887.35, exceeding the $7,150 limit.
The second example of Whitmer’s use of illegal funds is from lobbyist Gregory Eaton. Eaton had already exceeded the contribution limit with donations totaling $10,100, prior to providing a $1,393.40 in-kind contribution.
Lastly, Nathan Kalasho had exceeded the contribution limit with donations totaling $8,500 prior to providing an in-kind contribution of $950.
Mark Brewer, former Chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party provided this defense of Whitmer’s actions, MIRS reports:
“However, the Governor would need to return the money or get rid of it in some other way if no recall election happens.
That’s according to Mark BREWER, the former Michigan Democratic Party chair…
Brewer said state policy currently holds that…If a recall election doesn’t happen, a candidate must either return the excess money or take care of it in a different manner governed by law, such as giving it to a political party…”
However, Mr. Brewer’s analysis that “excess” funds will be returned is not possible in this case, as an “In-kind contribution” cannot be returned to a donor or given to a political party. According to the 1983 interpretive statement that Whitmer has claimed as the loophole that would allow her to obtain these illegal funds “…if a special recall election is not called by the appropriate election official, a contribution designated for the recall election may not be retained unless otherwise designated by the contributor.”
“Governor Whitmer’s brazen campaign finance scheme is one of the biggest political scandals in Michigan’s history. The fact that her committee accepted contributions that it knowingly would be unable to return, proves this is nothing more than a conspiracy to skirt Michigan campaign finance laws,” said Eric Ventimiglia, executive director for Michigan Rising Action. Ventimiglia continued, “Michigan Rising Action is calling on Secretary Benson to cast aside her partisanship, and immediately put a stop to Governor Whitmer’s illegal activity. For the sake of preserving the credibility of our elections, Whitmer must be held accountable for her shameless move to break the law in order to buy her way to re-election.”