About the Michigan Campaign Finance Network

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network (MCFN) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that seeks to shine the brightest light possible on the role of money in Michigan politics.

MCFN started in 1996 as a project of the nonprofit Michigan Prospect. In 2000, the MCFN became an independent nonprofit corporation. From the beginning, the organization has focused on public education regarding the impact of money on politics in Michigan. MCFN's work to assist the public in understanding the role that contributions to politicians play is critical to the healthy operation of a democratic system of governance. The primary tools of this effort are transparent, timely and fact-based research and analysis made available to the general public, voters, policy makers and those people and organizations who are attempting to shape public policy.

MCFN's board of directors, staff and supporters are motivated by the belief that intelligent citizen participation in democracy requires access to trustworthy and credible knowledge about how ever-increasing campaign dollars are being raised and spent. Positive democratic reforms require that political spending be widely understood and not hidden from public view.

If you would like to make a contribution to support MCFN's efforts, you can do so by following this link.

 


Board Of Directors

  • Lynn Jondahl, board chair: former Michigan state representative, serving from 1973 to 1994
  • Patricia Donath, board vice chair: past president of the League of Women Voters of Michigan
  • Charlie Cavell: founder of the nonprofit The Pay It Forward Initiative who's worked in workforce development and to alleviate the causes of poverty
  • John Chamberlin: professor emeritus of public policy at the University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
  • Dan DeGrow: former superintendent of St. Clair County RESA; former Michigan state senator, serving from 1983 to 2002; and former Michigan state representative, serving from 1981 to 1982
  • Gary Heinlein: a longtime journalist who covered Michigan state government and politics for The Detroit News for two decades
  • John M. Koval: retired state economist and senior activist
  • Ellen Cogen Lipton: an attorney and a former Michigan state representative, serving from 2009 to 2014
  • John P. Mayer: former state and federal court administrator
  • John J. H. Schwarz: physician; former Michigan state senator, serving from 1987 to 2002; and former congressman, serving from 2005 to 2007
  • Alma Wheeler Smith: former Michigan state senator, serving from 1995 to 2002; and former Michigan state representative, serving from 2005 to 2010
  • Chris Ward: former Michigan state representative, serving from 2003 to 2008

 


Executive Director

Simon D. Schuster

Simon D. Schuster Simon D. Schusterjoined the Michigan Campaign Finance Network as executive director in November 2019.

Before that, he worked as a journalist for the Michigan Information & Research Service (MIRS News), an online news service, covering politics and policy in state government, and as a freelance reporter for The Washington Post and The Detroit News.

He has also worked as a data analyst and researcher. Simon has served on the boards of two Michigan non-profits, including as president of the board of directors of his college newspaper, The State News

Simon received a bachelor's and a Master of Public Public degree from Michigan State University, where he worked as a graduate policy fellow at the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research.

 

 

 


Transparency

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network believes in tranparency and works to live that belief out in the work it does. Starting in 2016, the organizaton began maintaining a public list of all donors who have contributed more than $200 in a year (see below). The organization does not accept contributions of more than $200 from anonymous donors.

The organization also provides easy-to-access information on its finances through the links below:

— MCFN’s 990 Filing For 2017
— MCFN’s 990 Filing For 2016
— MCFN’s 990 Filing For 2015

In 2019, the Michigan Campaign Finance Network's board approved a donor independence policy that is somewhat based on a policy from the Institute for Nonprofit News:

"The Michigan Campaign Finance Network has authority over its research and editorial content to protect the journalistic and organizational interests of our organization. Acceptance of financial support does not constitute implied or actual endorsement of donors or their products, services or opinions. We accept gifts, grants and sponsorships from individuals and organizations for the general support of our activities, but our news judgments are made independently and not on the basis of donor support. Our organization will make public all donors who give a total of $200 or more per year. We will accept anonymous donations for general support only if individual anonymous donations are less than $200 per year."

 


Our Supporters

The work of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network has been financially supported by:

NOTE: MCFN has hundreds of supporters across the state and elsewhere. Many of them care deeply about transparency. Below, we have listed the generous supporters whose donations to MCFN have amounted to $200 or more in a year over the last five years.

— Bill Alexander
— Loretta Ames
— James Blanchard
— Bill Bobier
— Theresa Brennan
— J. Timothy Caldwell
— Margaret Ann Carter
— John Chamberlin
— Concerned Citizens of Acme Twp.
— Marcia and Ted Curran
— Jeanine DeLay
— Dan DeGrow
— Jan Dolan
— Pat Donath
— Stu Dowty and Janet Goldwasser
— Douglas Drake
— Patrick Egan
— Fred Feccheimer Trust
— Kay Felt
— Joyce Fitch
— Constance and William Frey
— Ann Erickson Gault
— Robert Garvey
— Dana and Sharon Gire
— R.J. Godin
— George Googasian
— David Gubow
— Richard Hesse
— Elizabeth Homer
— Alan Jacobson
— Jeffrey Jenks
— Betsy and Jay Johnson
— Jane L. Johnson
— Lynn Jondahl
— Joyce Foundation
— Marilyn Kelly
— John and Barbara Koval
— Ann and Richard Kraft
— Ellen Leik
— Sybil Levenson
— Ellen Cogen Lipton
— John Logie
— Anne Magoun
— Peter Magoun
— Mariel Foundation
— David Maturen
— John Mayer
— Olivia Maynard
— Model Cities Health Center
— Barbara Moorhouse
— Fred Munson
— Eva Packard
— Frances Parker
— Edward Parks
— John Piskulich
— Lana Pollack
— Jessica Reiser
— Richard Robinson and Shirley Ronquist
— Margaret Rockwell
— Paul and Faygabeth Rosen
— Robert Rudd
— James Ryan
— Donald and Julia Schmidt
— Scott Schrager
— John J.H. Schwarz
— Alma Wheeler Smith
— Tara Smith
— Robert and Mary Jill Spencer
— Kathleen Straus
— W.K. Kellogg Foundation
— Barry Waldman
— Max and Mary Wendell
— Lorence Wenke
— Nancy Wheeler