The Michigan Campaign Finance Network is reporting that the campaign for Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court is largely an “underground” campaign where much of the spending is not subject to campaign finance regulations.
According to the organization, 60% of the television advertising in the race is “off the books.” The Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the Michigan Democratic State Central Committee have spent $1,783,000 for television advertisements that attempt to “define the record, qualifications and character of one candidate or the other.” However, because the advertisements never mention voting, they are not required to report their spending in campaign financing reports, nor do they have to disclose the source of the money.
Executive Director Rich Robinson of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network says “The peril in this is that an individual or interest group could secretly spend a million dollars to market a candidate – a very important contribution, and then have that justice vote to select its case and rule on its case.”
The Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo combined market has seen $724,090 in spending from Taylor’s campaign, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, and the Michigan Democratic State Central Committee. The area has seen the second highest amount of ad spending after Detroit.