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Comments our volunteers have received from Michigan Legislators on how they feel about money in politics.
Greg MacMaster (R - District 105 - Kewadin)
"Corporate reform has become a mainstream political issue ever since the 'Citizens United' ruling which rolled back legal restrictions on corporate spending. I agree with your concerns and believe that more can and should be done to prevent the buying of elections. Currently, Michigan has restrictions in place to prevent such abuses. On the national level, restrictions are needed and although a federal issue, I would support such measures."
Jon Switalski (D - 25th District - Warren, Sterling Heights)
"I do not support this ruling [citizens united] and believe that this unaccountable influx of money is harmful to democracy and the legislative process. I believe this is another attempt to increase the influence of corporate dollars in our democratic process. Corporations are anything but people. There has always been corporate influence in elections but Citizens United allows corporations to engage in politicking with the blessing of our highest court."
Jeff Farrington (R - 30th District - Utica and Western Sterling Heights, and southeast Shelby)
"I think most people would agree that money and it's influence is a problem in politics. It has been for decades."
Charles Brunner (D - 96th District)
"Yes I feel the influence of money is a problem and yes I would be willing to be part of the solution."
David Agema (R - 74th District)
"Absolutely. I see the Farm Bureau buying people off the illegal immigration bills. I see Muslims pushing to stop the American Laws for American Courts bill because they want Sharia law. I see legislators being bought for their next election- bad policy. If it were me ( I have the resolution in already) I would have a part time legislature like 46 other states and I would limit lobbyists ability to give. If these two things would occur, you would have your legislators vote much differently."
Brandon Dillon (D - 75th District - Eastern half of Grand Rapids)
Thank you for contacting my office regarding the influence of money in politics across our country. Please know that I strongly agree that the influence of money on our political process is a very significant problem, and I am certainly supportive of a constitutional amendment to limit its influence and to ban corporate personhood in our country.
Chuck Moss (R - District 40 - Birmingham)
"I’d have to see the proposed amendment. I think the best antidote is sunshine; mandate total disclosure of all contributions and their sources, and openly post them on the internet."
David Rutledge (D - District 54 - Washtenaw County including Ypsilanti)
From his Legislative Aide: "Rep. Rutledge is opposed to the Citizens United case, and to the subsequent changes in campaign finance laws that permit those with means to spend unregulated funds to influence elections."
Charles Smiley (D - 50th Distict - Davison, Burton, Genesee, Richfield)
"In short, I absolutely believe that money in politics is a problem and the Citizens Untied Case has made it exponentially worse."
Joseph Graves (R - District 51 - Argentine)
"When it comes to money in politics I am in favor of transparency and accountability. I support proposals that accomplish those 2 things. At a state level, Michigan has made progress in increasing the transparency and accountability of campaign finance reporting for campaigns. I am always open to listening to and looking at other proposals to make our state and the political process more transparent to its citizens."
Ellen Cogen Lipton (D - District 27 - Lansing)
"I applaud your passion and commitment to an issue that I also agree only stands to undermine the long-term stability of our electoral system. To your first point, I believe the idea of corporate personhood is appalling and I strongly oppose the Citizens United ruling. As an attorney, I believe this decision goes against the entire body of law in terms of how we deal with corporations. This is clearly an attempt to grow the influence of corporate dollars in our democratic process. Corporations are anything but people, they are legal entities designed to allow for a business to maximize its profits and to shield individual shareholders from liability. There has always been corporate influence in elections but Citizens United allows corporations to really engage in politicking with the blessing of our highest court. As to your second point, I could certainly agree in concept to a constitutional fix, but would need to see a more concrete proposal for amendment before throwing full support behind an initiative. I commend your exploratory efforts in trying to ascertain what level of support you would have here in Michigan, and please know that I would welcome public engagement on this incredibly important issue."
Jane Segal (D - District 62 - Battle Creek)
"I agree that reforms have become necessary to preserve and protect our democracy and the integrity of our elections. That is why my Democratic colleagues and I have introduced a comprehensive government and campaign finance reform and ethics package. In January, we introduced a package of 16 bills and one proposed constitutional amendment that would make state government more transparent, accountable and fair."
Rudy Hobbs (D - District 35 - House)
"I share your concerns and desires to address the problem of money unduly influencing elections and campaigns in the State of Michigan. Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns and ideas. I appreciate the time and effort you are putting in to this important matter."
Peter MacGregor (R - District 73 - House)
"To answer your questions, yes, I do believe there is too much money spent in politics" *Notes: he wouldn't sign off on an amendment without seeing the exact details.
Jim Ananich (D - District 49 - House)
I do believe that the influence of money in politics is a problem with our current system. That's why one of the first bills I cosponsored after being elected was HB 4461, which would finally require financial disclosure for Michigan's elected officials. We're one of only three states that doesn't have some type of requirement in this area. I've also supported a number of other reforms, including more transparency through more frequent filing of contributions for both candidates and lobbyists.
I would be open to a constitutional amendment to address some of these issues, and would want to consider what the final language would look like and hear the debate about it.