You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Conservative group files complaint over Gov. Whitmer exceeding campaign finance limits

Detroit Free Press logo Detroit Free Press 7/29/2021 Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press
Gretchen Whitmer wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: Governor Gretchen Whitmer speaks at press conference at Citizen Robotics in Detroit on Tuesday, July 27, 2021. Governor Whitmer announced $100 million plan to boost affordable housing in Michigan. © Rodney Coleman-Robinson Governor Gretchen Whitmer speaks at press conference at Citizen Robotics in Detroit on Tuesday, July 27, 2021. Governor Whitmer announced $100 million plan to boost affordable housing in Michigan.

LANSING – A  conservative group filed a complaint with the Secretary of State’s Office Wednesday alleging Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's campaign violated state law when it accepted donations that exceed limits set out in the Michigan Campaign Finance Act.

Whitmer's campaign cited a recall threat in tapping wealthy donors for donations to her campaign as high as $250,000.

Under the Campaign Finance Act, the maximum donation a candidate for governor can accept from an individual is $7,150.

Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.

The higher donations increased her campaign's total revenues by a few million dollars.

The Whitmer campaign cited a 1984 administrative ruling issued by former Michigan Secretary of State Richard Austin, who set out of some of his reasoning in a 1983 letter to a state Senate majority leader. Austin said that when a candidate is facing a recall, the donation limits do not apply because recall committees can accept unlimited donations from individuals.

More: Whitmer reelection campaign blows by donor caps, draws big cash from Hollywood, New York

More: Whitmer has $10M for reelection campaign after record fundraising

Republican campaign finance attorney Eric Doster questioned Tuesday whether Whitmer is truly facing a recall threat, as recall petitions against her approved by the Board of State Canvassers have not shown they have raised money or been actively collecting signatures in recent months.

But in a complaint filed Wednesday, the Michigan Freedom Fund put forward an additional argument. The group said Austin, a Democrat, exceeded his authority when he issued his declaratory rulings.

"The Michigan Secretary of State may neither amend the MCFA (Michigan Campaign Finance Act) nor interpret the MCFA in a manner to overcome its plain meaning," said the complaint, signed by fund executive director Tori Sachs. The approach taken by the Whitmer campaign "represents the largest money grab ever seen in Michigan to ignore contribution limits."

The Office of Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, has the responsibility of investigating and ruling on the complaint.

Whitmer said Tuesday she believes campaign finance donation limits should be lowered, but she believes her campaign is following the law as it is currently set out.

Contact Paul Egan: 517-372-8660 or pegan@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @paulegan4Read more on Michigan politics and sign up for our elections newsletter

Become a subscriber.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Conservative group files complaint over Gov. Whitmer exceeding campaign finance limits

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Detroit Free Press

Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon