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Collecting Dough: How State Lawmakers Mix Fundraising, Legislating; And Sometimes Do Both

In 2015, state lawmakers held hundreds of fundraisers with the majority of them taking place within walking distance of the Capitol on legislative session days.

There were at least 315 fundraisers held by state officeholders in 2015 with 170 of them happening in Lansing on days when at least the House was expected to be in session. This is the story of those events and one particular fundraiser that occurred this week benefiting a senator who spent much of the event a block away in a committee hearing. Read the piece by following the link below.

Who's Helping Fund Gov. Snyder's Response In Flint? The Answer Is Clouded

As Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration makes use of a nonprofit organization to help respond to the water crisis in Flint, it’s impossible to tell where much of the money funding the nonprofit is really coming from.

Over the last year, the Moving Michigan Forward Fund, which discloses its donors and the amounts they give, has taken $525,000 — 83 percent of its total haul over that period — from other nonprofits tied to Snyder that haven't met that level of disclosure. Read our full piece on the fund by following the link below.

Dark Money Hits Township Level As Nonprofit Goes On Attack In Plymouth

State Rep. Kurt Heise (R-Plymouth Twp.), who’s running for Plymouth Twp. supervisor this year, still remembers the moment he discovered the dark-money-funded website bearing his name: www.HigherCrimeHeise.com.

Over the last eight months, efforts to attack Heise tied to a nonprofit group have led to Freedom of Information Act requests, legal costs for the public and political feuding in one Wayne County township. Read our full story by following the link below.

5 Michigan Congressional Races Drew More Than $500,000 In The Last 3 Months

Candidates hoping to serve Michigan in the U.S. House next year drew a combined $4.5 million from Jan. 1 through March 31, according to newly released campaign finance disclosures.

And five races across the state surpassed the $500,000 mark for the three-month period. According to the new disclosures, one GOP candidate loaned his own campaign $900,000, one sitting House member raised $300,000 from PACs, and one Democratic candidate got $58,350 from donors in California. For MCFN's complete look at the money flowing into our congressional races, follow the links below.

If Money Talks, Support Loudest Among Cruz's Michigan Delegates

If money is any indication, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) appears to have the most sincere crop of Michigan delegates heading into the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July.

According to federal campaign finance disclosures, five of Cruz's 17 Michigan delegates have given directly to his campaign for president so far. Meanwhile, only one of Donald Trump's 25 Michigan delegates have given to his campaign, and only three of Ohio Gov. John Kasich's delegates have given to his campaign. Read more about contributions by the GOP delegates and by Democratic super delegates by following the link below.

Mich. Donors Have Given More Than $5M To Super PACs Playing In Presidential Race

Michigan has been the source of more than $5.2 million in contributions to Super PACs supporting or opposing presidential candidates, according to a new Michigan Campaign Finance Network (MCFN) analysis.

One weathy Michigan family and one businessman have accounted for about half of that $5.2 million total. And the $5.2 million is in addition to $6.4 million that Michigan residents have given directly to presidential candidates. Read our full story by following the links below.

Many Lawmakers Have Taken Thousands In Campaign Cash From Those Seeking To Influence Detroit Education Plan

As state lawmakers look to reshape public education in Michigan’s largest city, many of them have taken major campaign contributions from groups and individuals who are now seeking to influence the overhaul.

Those donors include the powerful DeVos family, the Detroit Regional Chamber, the Michigan Education Association and the Great Lakes Education Project. MCFN has tracked six groups that have weighed in on education plans for Detroit and those groups' donations to lawmakers for 2014 and 2015. Read our coverage at the link below.

MCFN coverage of Campaign 2016