Friday, January 28, 2011

LePage and Michigan Chamber Skirt Campaign Finance Laws

MPBN had a great piece on last night about something I alerted readers to earlier this year: the Michigan Chamber of Commerce's bizarre contribution to LePage, who has no connection to Michigan whatsoever.

Their verdict is basically what I expected. That the strange unexplained donation is basically part of an elaborate ruse of kickbacks and quid-pro-quos designed to get around corporate limits on campaign donations.

Rich Robinson, a Michigan campaign finance watchdog, explained how it works, in a nutshell.

"In Michigan, corporations can't contribute to a plain vanilla political action comittee, and so it seemed to me that that was a way for the corporate money to be redistributed to a place like the Maine RGA Pac, to the Florida RGA PAC, and for it to be replaced by contributions from individuals here," Robinson says. "It's a very complex kind of situation. An awful lot of money was sloshing around and the real why's and wherefore's do remain somewhat of a mystery, if there's anything more to this than a simple currency exchange.

I'm glad to see that my instinct about this--something stinks!--was correct. I don't expect there to be any consequences, and I'm guessing it's the kind of political chicanery that is not limited to any one candidate or party. Still, remember all this when LePage talks about not being beholden to special interests.

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