* Detroit News in July…
The leader of the conservative Michigan Freedom Fund filed on Wednesday a campaign finance complaint against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s reelection committee, contending it committed “the largest money grab ever seen in Michigan to ignore contribution limits.” […]
Supporters of the governor said she could do it because she was facing recall campaigns. Decisions in the 1980s from then-Secretary of State Richard Austin allowed an officeholder fighting a recall to raise unlimited amounts from donors.
In response to the new complaint, Mark Fisk, Whitmer’s campaign spokesman, labeled the claims “bogus” and “without merit.”
“There have been nearly 30 recall petitions filed against Gov. Whitmer, and governors under threat of recall are exempt from campaign finance limits to defend themselves,” Fisk said.
In 1983, Austin ruled that a Michigan officeholder can accept contributions that exceed normal limits if the officeholder’s recall is “actively being sought.” To allow committees aiming to recall officeholders to raise unlimited amounts while not allowing the officeholders to do so would be “absurd and unfair,” Austin said.
There’s more to this, so go read it all if it interests you. Among other things, the Whitmer campaign claimed that since some of the recall attempts were still tied up in court the contribution caps didn’t apply.
Why do we care?
Designating 10 major donors to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer the “$100,000 Club,” the Michigan Freedom Fund on Tuesday filed a formal campaign finance complaint. […]
MFF took the dollar amounts and donor names from Whitmer’s July Campaign Finance Statement filed with the Office of the Secretary of State. According to state law, political officeholders facing recall efforts are allowed to collect unlimited donations – but no recall efforts are currently underway for Whitmer. Absent that exception, the state campaign contribution limit is $7,150.
Among those donors named in the MFF complaint are attorney Mark Bernstein and Illinois Gov. J.D. Pritzker. […]
Pritzker, meanwhile, donated $250,000 to the governor on July 8.
Sachs asks the secretary of state to force the governor to relinquish any amounts from a single donor exceeding $7,150, as well as pay a fine equal to the illegal amount.
I’ve asked the governor’s campaign for comment.