Democrats Have History of Major Campaign Finance Violations Democrats Have History of Major Campaign Finance Violations - Michigan Rising Action

Democrats Have History of Major Campaign Finance Violations

Democrats Have History of Major Campaign Finance Violations

June 6, 2022

Lansing, Mich., June 6, 2022 – In the past few years, Michigan Democrats have committed a series of violating campaign finance rules that, in some cases, resulted in financial penalties. Here’s a look back at Michigan Democrats’ concerning campaign finance record.

2017 – Michigan Democratic Party Loses Big with Bingo

In 2017, the Michigan Democratic Party was fined $500k by the FEC for poor recordkeeping and accepted contributions that exceeded legal campaign finance limits through a bingo fundraising plan. The Detroit Free Press reported

  • “Individual contributions from bingo players exceeded campaign contribution limits because of weekly visits to political bingo games.
  • The reporting of 12,500 bingo contributions involving $4.5 million was inaccurate.
  • The party understated contributions at the bingo games over 14 years by $4.4 million and disbursements of bingo prize money by $3.9 million.
  • The party’s bingo chairpeople, instead of keeping itemized lists of contributions, created lists of a small subset of players and attributed fictitious contributions to them.”

2018 – Whitmer and Build a Better MI

During the 2018 election, the Democrat group Build a Better MI, ran millions of dollars in advertising for then-candidate Gretchen Whitmer. The advertisements exhibited a clear coordination between the group and the candidate, which violated state campaign finance laws.

Build a Better MI paid a $37,500 settlement, a drop in the ocean of funds utilized to boost candidate-Whitmer in 2018. 

2021 – Michigan Democrats and Illegal Donations

In 2021, the FEC found numerous illegal donations to the Michigan Democratic State Central Committee dating back to 2019. The donations totaled $42,479.38, and the committee paid a $19k settlement. 

2021 – Whitmer’s Fundraising Funnel

In 2021, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson allowed Gretchen Whitmer to funnel $3.4 million to the Michigan Democratic Party. Millions poured into Whitmer’s campaign when she “believed” she would face a recall election, which never materialized. Instead of returning the funds to donors, Whitmer had permission from Benson to donate the excess funds to the Michigan Democratic Party, which ultimately support Whitmer, Benson, Nessel, and other Democrats across the state. 

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit on the matter, protecting Whitmer’s fundraising funnel to the Michigan Democratic Party. 

“Democrats in Michigan have an established pattern of breaking campaign finance laws, and recently, Jocelyn Benson protected Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Democratic Party from serious campaign finance repercussions,” said Eric Ventimiglia, Executive Director for Michigan Rising Action. Ventimiglia continued, “Democrats continue to strategize from the ‘rules for thee not for me’ playbook that benefit their political power grabs.”

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