The Election's Over, Your 10 Days Are Up, File Your Damned Campaign Finance Statements
A scratch corporation named Michigan’s Voice (LARA 71630M) was registered with Michigan’s Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Department on 26 October by a connected lawyer, Richard D. McLellan. He signed the Articles of Incorporation on 15 October.
Just in time to mail two obnoxious, lying flyers knifing Jim Storey, the second place finisher in the 80th House District special primary held on 03 November. The address used for the Michigan’s Voice LARA filing and printed on the flyers was not Richard McLellan’s, rather it was that of Eric E. Doster’s law firm Doster Law Offices, PLLC.
The Michigan Campaign Finance Act, PA 388 of 1976, requires all committees engaged in Michigan politics to file a Statement of Organization within 10 days of being formed. MCL 169.221 Section 21(9) also requires all committees to designate a Treasurer before receiving and disbursing funds. MCL 169.232 Section 32(9) further requires all committees to report late contributions [those received after 18 October in this election] be filed with the SoS within 48 hours of receipt as well. Michigan’s Voice has done none of this.
Committees are defined in MCL 169.203, Section 3(4) as:
“a person who receives contributions or makes expenditures for the purpose of influencing or attempting to influence the action of the voters for or against the nomination or election of a candidate,………., if contributions received total $500.00 or more in a calendar year or expenditures made total $500.00 or more in a calendar year.”
The word ‘person’ in this act is used in the legal sense and most definitely refers to a corporation registered at LARA, fiddling in politics. Michigan’s Voice is assuredly a committee under the MCFA.
Twenty-one days have passed since Richard McLellan signed Michigan’s Voice’s Articles of Incorporation and 10 days have passed since those Articles of Incorporation were officially filed by LARA. I received the first Michigan’s Voice flyer on 28 October, so arrangements and payments must have been made days before that. Arena Communications of Salt Lake City, the Michigan’s Voice mailings’ designer and printer, isn’t that quick and the U.S. Postal Service certainly isn’t. So the MCFA 10 day grace period has been sorely abused.
Mr.McLellan has said that he signed Michigan’s Voice’s Articles as a favor to Eric E. Doster. Perhaps he needs to seek a little legal advise from his friend. Eric E. Doster wrote the (very expensive) book on Michigan’s campaign finance law, so he should be of some assistance here. The obvious violations of the MCFA are mounting and the fines are piling up. Eventually they become misdemeanors.
At the very least, Jim Storey deserves to know who planted the knife in his back at the eleventh hour. Everyone else in Allegan County will also be interested, particularly if the money came from the Great Lakes Education Project or some Richard DeVos seneschal. Arena Communications also printed the nine mailed flyers I received from Great Lakes Education Project on behalf of the winner Mary Whiteford. So coordination, legal or otherwise, occurred at some level here.
Making things a bit more interesting, Senate Majority Leader Arlen Meekhof wheeled $ 10,000 from his Moving Michigan Forward Fund II PAC (BoE 516287) into GLEP (BoE 510264) through the Michigan Freedom Network PAC (BoE 516317) on 07 October. Just about the cost of two well targeted primary election mailings in the 80th House District. Senator Meekhof has made no secret of his disdain for Jim Storey. So Michigan’s Voice activities may well predate 15 October.
Michigan Freedom Network is a PAC subordinate to Greg McNeilly of Michigan Freedom Fund, an individual who is also a Director of GLEP. Not to be left out of the picture, Eric Doster just happens to be the resident agent of the Michigan Freedom Fund, an entity he actually created as the Atlas Strike Fund in 2012. Did GLEP establish Michigan’s Voice as a deniable cutout to further their agenda and the antagonisms of Senator Meekhof? Or was Michigan’s Voice a device to conceal the scope of GLEP’s involvement in the 80th House District special primary until after 03 November?
One or more of these characters was absolutely determined to orchestrate the nomination of Mary Whiteford, and willing to game the Michigan Campaign Finance Act in the process to conceal their identity(s). The important question is why, and who gains what, by her election.
Altruism is not an end in today’s Michigan politics. Money is.