Inside of Inside 83’s campaign investigation

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The Inside 83 team | Photo by David Poulson

The Inside 83 Team recently discussed Capital Expenditure, their special report on campaign fundraising by Michigan state lawmakers. Listen to each of their insights in the series below. The final podcast hosted by Andrew Birkle features all of their comments.

Eli Pales

Eli’s Findings: 

  • Lawmakers raised $8 million in 2017, a non-election year
  • Sen. Curtis Hertel, D-Meridian Township, said it costs roughly $20,000 to send one mailing to his entire district

Eli’s Stories:

State lawmakers raised nearly $8 million in non-election year

Here’s how we did it

Natalie Dymkowski

Natalie’s Findings: 

  • Female lawmakers raised $6,000 more than their male counterparts on average.
  • Male lawmakers took a larger percentage of their funds from PACs

Natalie’s Story:

Female lawmakers outraised males on average, but got less from PACs

Ian Hawley

Ian’s Findings: 

  • Sixteen lawmakers raised less than $5,000 in 2017, with three of them raising less than $500
  • Candidates have three main sources of funding: individuals, political parties and PACs

Ian’s Story:

Not every lawmaker is a campaign rainmaker

Jaylyn Galloway

Jaylyn’s Findings: 

  • Holly Hughes was the biggest self-funder in 2017, donating $250,000 to her own campaign
  • Gubernatorial candidate Shri Thanedar gave $6 million to his own campaign
  • The Secretary of State had nine campaign-finance complaints resolved via agreement in 2017. They totaled $6,054.95 in fines
  • The largest fine that the Secretary of State has ever given was in 2009 for  $225,250

Jaylyn’s Stories:

Seven Michigan lawmakers gave more than $10,000 to own campaigns

Michigan candidates pay for breaking finance rules

Zach Robertson, graphics/copy editor

Podcast: Zach discusses his role in the Capital Expenditure series

William Thiede

William’s Findings: 

  • Democrats raise less money but rely more heavily on PACs
  • PAC donations hit over $2.8 million for the GOP, $1.4 million for Democrats in a non-election year
  • Nearly 61 percent of the total contributions Democratic state lawmakers got in 2017 came from PACs,  51 percent for Republicans

William’s Story:

Republicans raise more PAC money, but rely less on it

Andrew Birkle

Andrew’s Findings: 

  • 54 percent of the money raised by lawmakers in 2017 came from political action committees (PACs)
  • Lawmakers raised on average $54,000 to their campaigns, $28,000 of which came from special interest groups
  • The National Rifle Association made just one contribution to Michigan lawmakers in 2017, to Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona, for $500

Andrew’s Stories:

Special interests gave 54 percent of funds raised by Michigan lawmakers

NRA influence stretches beyond direct contributions


Check out the entire Capital Expenditure series on the Spartan Newsroom website.