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Following The Money In Michigan's 2016 Primary Election

Voters across Michigan will head to the polls on Tuesday, Aug. 2, to determine which candidates will be on general election ballots in November. Voters will choose nominees for seats in the Michigan House and in the U.S. Congress. They'll also weigh in on races for local offices. There’s a lot at stake and a lot of money attempting to influence outcomes. MCFN will post stories in the days leading up to the primary following the money that can be traced and also the money that can’t be. Read our primary election coverage at the links below:

The 16 Michigan House Races Drawing The Most Cash So Far In 2016 And Where It's Coming From

A Northern Michigan doctor dipping into his own wallet, a Detroit incumbent trying to fend off primary challengers and an ex-lobbyist running in Jackson are drawing big dollars into three of the most expensive House races so far in 2016. Campaign finance reports for House candidates were due on Friday — days before the Aug. 2 primary election. The reports, the first disclosing dollars given to the candidates in 2016, covered fundraising between Jan. 1 and July 17. Read our coverage by following the links below.

Biggest Game In Town: How More Than 100 Lobbyists Have Tried To Sway The State's Energy Overhaul

The ongoing debate over the future of energy in Michigan and who should pay for it has supercharged interest groups and the lobbyists they employ in Lansing. At least 145 registered lobbyists have either submitted official position statements to the Legislature’s two energy committees about pending energy reforms or are registered as working for the key players in the proposals. As one person watching the debate play out said of the large crop of interested parties, "Everyone gets an electric bill." Read our story by following the link below.

Congressional Candidates Reaching Deep Into Their Own Wallets To Help Fund Their Campaigns

Michigan candidates for Congress dug deep into their own pockets in the last months to support their campaigns, according to new disclosures that were due on Friday. Combined, Republicans running in contested primaries in the 1st and 10th districts loaned or gave their campaigns more than $1 million from April 1 through June 30. But no one has helped himself more than Republican Paul Mitchell who’s running in the open 10th District. Read more by following the links below.

New Tool For Tracking The Flow Of Money Debuts

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network has added a new digital tool to help members of the public trace donations to elected officeholders serving in Lansing. The donor-tracking tool provides ranked lists of top contributors to state lawmakers, their caucuses, the governor, the attorney general and the secretary of state. The tool covers donations across a variety of fundraising methods. Read more by following the links below.

Group Files Complaint Against Dark Money Mich. Nonprofit

In a new complaint, a national ethics group says a Michigan nonprofit appears to have made false statements to the Internal Revenue Service about its political spending. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, D.C., filed a complaint today with the IRS that says the Michigan Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility made contributions to political action committees but told the IRS the group hadn’t engaged in “direct or indirect political campaign activities on behalf of or in opposition to candidates for public office.”

With Questionable Results, Statewide Ballot Campaigns Have Spent More Than $3.5 Million

While it appears increasingly unlikely that any group will be able to gather enough petition signatures to put a proposal before Michigan voters in November, those who tried raised some $6.4 million and spent more than $3.5 million. The spending has been a boon for election attorneys, campaign consultants, polling companies and, most emphatically, petition circulators. Read our full piece by following the link below.

MCFN coverage of Campaign 2016