Campaign Contribution Limits Doubled Under Bill Approved By Lawmakers

By: Josh Sidorowicz Email
By: Josh Sidorowicz Email

If you think elections are too expensive right now, just wait, because there could be even more money flowing into next year's campaigns in Michigan.

Lawmakers approved controversial legislation Wednesday doubling how much candidates could receive in donations.

It's now headed to Gov. Snyder's desk to be signed, and if it is, it means residents could soon be seeing even more anonymously-funded TV attack ads too.

So called "issue ads" would now require a disclaimer but donors for those ads would not have to be disclosed.

The votes in both the House and Senate were primarily down party lines.

Opponents have argued the bill isn't in step with Gov. Rick Snyder's promise to bring more transparency and accountability to campaigning in Michigan.

"It goes in the wrong direction," said Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing. "This bill will expressly prohibit disclosure of any of the attack ads which don't say 'vote for' or 'vote against.'"

Schor says it will only be helping special interest groups.

"I've knocked on over 10-15,000 doors when I ran office and not one person ever said to me 'we need more money in politics,'" he said.

The increase in contribution limits does not just apply to individuals, but also Political Action Committees, or PACs, which can give as much as 10 times as much as an individual.

Meanwhile, supporters like Rep. Kevin Cotter, R-Mt. Pleasant, say there will be greater transparency, citing the fact candidates will now have to file two new campaign finance reports in non-election years.

The candidate at the other end of robo-calls would also now have to be disclosed.

"We all know that robo-calls happen, each and every election cycle and in between, now they're going to know who they come from and I think that's an important step as well," Cotter said.

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