MCL 28.425e(5)(m) mandates that by January 1st of each year, the Michigan State Police must issue a report containing “A list of expenditures made by the department of state police from money received under this act, regardless of purpose.”
Up to this point, the expenditures reported on the annual reports (https://www.michigan.gov/msp/0,4643,7-123-1878_1591_3503_4654-77621–,00.html) were aggregated into categories. It’s not a list of expenditures, but up until this point, no one has called them on it.
So we (Michigan Open Carry) filed a FOIA request for the list of expenditures for FY16 last fall. One of the key factors is the fact that out of a reported take of $8,020,921 (and this is excluding fingerprinting fees), $5,425,305 was spent on “Support systems utilized by the CPL unit” – or just over 2/3 of their non-fingerprinting CPL revenues.
To make things short, in responding to our request, the MSP basically pointed us towards the FY16 annual report. Clearly not what we wanted.
So we appealed, with a subsequent response of, well, nothing.
Time to initiate a litigatory beatdown.
In March of this year, we filed suit.
At this point, by way of the discovery process, we can start getting a bit intrusive (read our discovery request here).
When we got our discovery documents (Part 1 and Part 2), we realized something interesting – the revenue numbers they claimed were short of what they would have actually recieved based on the number of applications.
And by short, I’m talking millions of dollars.
Even with the most conservative estimate (based strictly on the amount they received prior to PA 3 of 2015 going into effect on December 1st 2015), the MSP is under reporting almost $3.5m of revenue, though we estimate that figure to be closer to $5.3m. Again, keep in mind this isn’t taking into account fingerprinting fees.
But the fun doesn’t stop there.
The discovery we received also seems to indicate their actual expenses were closer to $1.8m, not the $8,020,921 reported (isn’t it magical how their publicly reported expenses match exactly with their publicly reported revenues?).
I certainly can’t think of a reason why these numbers would be mis-reported. When asked (prior to us getting discovery), the MSP punted with a lame response of “The fees are set by the legislature”.
Yeah, good luck weaseling out of this now.
For our most recent release (and it goes into slightly more detail about the revenues and expenses post discovery acquisition), take a look here.
To view all court filings (which also include the actual FOIA request and appeal), follow along here. I update that index as filings come in.
I do highly recommend reading our Response to the Motion for Summary Disposition. It’s a work of art.