LANSING – Michigan’s top 150 political action committees (PACs) have raised $8,587,412 since January 1, 2011, according to reports filed with the Michigan Department of State and compiled by the nonpartisan Michigan Campaign Finance Network.
That figure is down by 3.2 percent compared to this point in the last election cycle, when the top 150 PACs had raised $8,866,843; and down by 10.2 percent compared to the 2008 cycle, when the top 150 PACs had raised $9,558,690 by July 20, 2007.
The Republican legislative caucuses’ PACs are the top fundraisers so far this cycle. The House Republican Campaign Committee has raised $758,385 to top the list, and it has a cash balance of $511,267. The Senate Republican Campaign Committee is second with $599,050 raised, but it has only $63,784 on hand after repaying debts from last election cycle. The SRCC still owes $325,000.
The House Democratic Fund has had the third biggest take so far this cycle at $501,547. It has a balance of $235,824. The Senate Democratic Fund has raised $202,276, good for seventh place on the list, and its balance is $124,163.
The rest of the top ten PACs includes Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan PAC, $309,342; Michigan Health and Hospital Association’s Health PAC, $298,638; the Michigan Education Association PAC, $294,612; Business Leaders for Michigan PAC II, a corporate PAC, which can make independent expenditures but not contributions to candidates, $200,500; Michigan Association for Justice PAC, $195,417; and the Michigan Association of Realtors PAC, $190,532.
Business Leaders for Michigan also operates a PAC which does not use corporate funds that can make direct contributions to candidates. That PAC raised $100,500. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce, likewise, has a corporate PAC, which raised $60,000, and a ‘hard money’ PAC that raised $122,148.
The top officeholder’s leadership PAC is that of Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, which has raised $127,250. The next largest leadership PACs belong to Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Anthony Marocco, $110,090, and Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner John McCulloch, $93,147. House Democratic leader Richard Hammel has raised $63,925 for his leadership PAC and Speaker of the House Jase Bolger has raised $63,000 for his PAC.
Three of the six largest PACs from last election cycle are absent from this year’s initial top 150. The Republican Governors Association Michigan PAC, which set a state record with $8,429,328, has dissolved. Neither Jon Stryker’s Coalition for Progress nor the United Auto Workers Victory PAC has raised money so far this cycle.
“Michigan’s economic recovery may be sputtering,” said Rich Robinson, executive director of MCFN, “But the money that lubricates Michigan politics never dries up.”