A conservative group has filed a campaign finance complaint against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, alleging her campaign launched an “illegal scheme” to exploit a legal loophole that allows her “to evade and eviscerate Michigan candidate contribution limits.”
Because the George Soros-backed Whitmer is facing a recall election pushed by state Republicans, the Democratic governor has been able to take advantage of an exception that allows governors facing potential recall attempts to circumvent the individual donor spending limit.
Normally, individuals are only allowed to donate $7,150 each, but a 1984 state ruling says fundraising for recall elections can be treated differently.
As a result, Whitmer’s reelection campaign hauled in $8.6 million fundraising haul from Jan. 1 to July 20, which is the most any gubernatorial candidate in the state has raised during an off-year.
However, the Michigan Freedom Fund said in a complaint filed on Wednesday that contributions to Whitmer’s campaign from at least 154 individual donors violate the Michigan Campaign Finance Act.
“The Whitmer Campaign has admitted to these wholesale violations of the MCFA’s contribution limitations, but claims that there is an exception to contribution limits for officeholders facing a recall election,” MFF Executive Director Victoria Sachs said in the complaint, which was sent to Michigan’s Bureau of Elections.
Even if this exception is legal, the group argued, the recall attempt is not “being actively sought.”
In order for a recall election to be considered, a committee “must first get petition approval from the State Board of Canvassers then collect 1,062,647 signatures from registered voters within 60 days,” she added.
Neither of these conditions has been met.
“Whitmer’s illegal scheme is inconsistent with the text and purpose of the [Michigan Campaign Finance Act], absurd, unfair, and could not have been intended by the Legislature,” the complaint states.
Whitmer has defended her fundraising haul, saying that as long as the exception to finance limits exists she will take advantage of it.
“I think you know we need, we need reform when it comes to political contributions,” she said at a press conference Tuesday.
“But so long as the rules are what they are, I’m going to make sure that I always abide by the rules but that I am gonna run hard, just like I do everything,” she continued. “When I set my mind to something, we’re going to see it through.”