Business Leaders for Michigan–the big business CEOs who want big tax cuts for themselves–are investing heavily in this year’s election. So far the CEO-led group’s campaign spending topped $200,000, according to campaign finance records on file with the Secretary of State.
BLM invested heavily in House Speaker Andy Dillon, who lost his election for governor in the Democratic primary. BLM’s PAC gave Dillon $34,000 for his losing effort. But the big business group seems mostly interested in defeating Democrats, spending more than $60,000 this month alone in an effort to elect Republicans to the state Senate.
Business Leaders for Michigan boasts more than 70 corporate members, but included in their leadership are Mary Sue Coleman and Lou Anna K. Simon, presidents of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, respectively. So, presumably, the leaders of these two tax-supported universities are helping to guide highly partisan political spending as members of BLM’s executive committee.
Is that really appropriate, or even wise?
Another BLM eye-opener in campaign filings this week is that the group’s single largest financial contributor is Meijer Corporation, which gave $20,000 to BLM’s political action committee.
In 2008 Meijer acknowledged that it had illegally funded front groups in an attempt to influence elections in Acme, a village outside Traverse City where the grocery giant planned to build a new store. Meijer paid a $190,000 fine for its violation of campaign finance law, said to be the biggest fine in the state’s history.
Of course all of that is behind Meijer now since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations can spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections, and that decision paved the way for the flood of corporate cash we are seeing in this year’s elections.
Most of that money is being used in an effort to defeat Democrats. Business Leaders for Michigan, for example, is using funding from Meijer, banks, insurance companies, mortgage lenders and other large corporations to defeat Democrat David LeGrand, who is running in west Michigan’s 29th Senate District.
So far in October BLM has spent $62,569 in radio ads in support of LeGrand’s Republican opponent, David Hildebrand. They also put up $23,741 in radio ads on October 4 to defeat Democrat Bob Jones in Senate District 20. Jones, of course, died last Sunday, leaving Republican Tonya Shuitmaker–
BLM reported having $75,000 cash on hand left to spend as of October 20.