Campaign Contributions

If you have an interest in a Detroit Casino License or Supplier License, you must be aware of three Michigan laws regarding political contributions. Please read carefully the summaries of these laws.

 

They will help you better understand...

  1. Who is prohibited from making a contribution
  2. Who must register with the Michigan Department of State
  3. Who is prohibited from accepting a contribution

 

These summaries are provided as general discussion, and not intended as legal advice. If you have questions regarding any aspect of these laws, please contact the agency noted.

 


#1 - Who is prohibited from making a contribution?

 

Michigan Gaming Control & Revenue Act
Public Act 69 of 1997; MCL 432.201 et. seq., including MCL 432.207b

For more information about this law, please contact the MGCB (phone 313/456-4100).

 

The Michigan Gaming Control & Revenue Act, as amended, prohibits the following persons from making contributions to a state or local elective office-holder, candidate, candidate committee, political party committee, independent committee (as defined by the Michigan Campaign Finance Act), or committee organized by a state legislative caucus:

  • A person who holds a Casino License issued by the MGCB.
  • A person who holds a Supplier License issued by the MGCB.
  • A person who holds a 1% interest in either type of licensee.
  • A person who holds a 1% interest in the buildings, facilities or rooms connected to a casino, or a 1% interest in any other facility in the city that is under the control of a casino licensee or affiliated company ("Casino enterprise").
  • An officer or managerial employee of a licensee or casino enterprise.
  • An officer of any entity that holds a 1% interest in a licensee or casino enterprise.
  • An independent committee of a licensee or casino enterprise.

 

A person subject to this prohibition is also prohibited from making contributions through a legal entity established, directed or controlled by that person.

 

Note - These prohibitions do not apply to a ballot question committee as defined by the Michigan Campaign Finance Act, nor do they apply to contributions made to national parties, committees, candidates, etc.

 

Prohibited Periods

  • Casino License - Political contributions may not be made from a date one year prior to applying to the MGCB for a Casino License, and continuing until three years after the license expires. The prohibited period includes all time in between these dates, including the period when the Board is still considering a license application.
  • Supplier License - Political contributions may not be made from the date an application is submitted to the MGCB for a Supplier License, and continuing until three years after the license expires.

 

Enforcement - A person who makes a prohibited contribution is guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for 10 years and/or a fine of not more than $100,000.

 

Attorney General's Opinion:
Constitutionality of Political Contribution Restrictions

 

On December 17, 1998, Attorney General Frank Kelley issued a written opinion regarding the constitutionality of the political contribution restrictions in Section 7b of the Michigan Gaming Control & Revenue Act, as amended (Public Act 69 of 1997). The opinion was issued in response to specific questions asked by the Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives in September 1998.

 

In part, the Attorney General concluded that:

  • The prohibition of political contributions by a spouse, parent, child or spouse of a child of a casino or supplier licensee is unconstitutional because it restricts political expression too broadly, in violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
  • The prohibition of political contributions by a casino or supplier licensee to local and state candidates for elective office or candidate committees is not unconstitutional.
  • The retroactive prohibition of political contributions to such candidates and committees by casino and supplier licensees for one year prior to applying for their licenses is unconstitutionally overbroad and in violation of the First Amendment as it applies to supplier licensees, but not as it applies to casino licensees.

 

 If you have any questions about how this opinion may affect your ability to be licensed as a casino supplier, please contact the MGCB Licensing Division at 313/456-4100

 

      #2 - Who must register with the Michigan Department of State?

 

Casino Interest Registration Act
Public Act 74 of 1997; MCLA 432.271

For more information about this law, contact the Michigan Department of State, Bureau of Elections.

 

Registration Requirement

  • A person holding a casino interest must file a registration form with the Department of State within five days after obtaining a casino interest. (For purposes of this law, the Department of State considers "obtaining a casino interest" to be the day the MGCB issues the Casino License.)
  • Registration is terminated by filing a Notice of Termination within 30 days after the person ceases to hold a casino interest.
  • Twice each year, the Department of State must publish a list of the names of persons who hold casino interests. The list must be given wide public dissemination.

 

Registration Form Requirements

  • Name and office address of person holding the interest.
  • Description of the casino interest.
  • For non-individuals who hold a 1% interest in a casino license or casino enterprise (the buildings, facilities or rooms functionally connected to a casino... bars, restaurants, retail shops, etc.), the names of its principal officers, board members, partners or directors.

 

Persons Subject to Registration

  • A person who holds at least a 1% interest in a casino license or casino enterprise.
  • The spouse and children of a person who holds at least a 1% interest in a casino license or casino enterprise.
  • The officers of any person who holds a 1% interest in a casino licensee or casino enterprise.
  • The spouse and children of the officers of any person who holds a 1% interest in a casino licensee or casino enterprise.
  • A partner, officer or key managerial employee of a casino licensee or casino enterprise.
  • The spouse and children of a partner, officer or key managerial employee of a casino licensee or casino enterprise.

 

Enforcement

  • Late registration fees of $10.00 per day, not to exceed $300.00.
  • Failure to register for more than 30 days is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000.00.
  • If the Department of State, upon "investigation of a report," determines that there is probable cause to believe that a violation of the Act has occurred, the results of the investigation shall be referred to the Attorney General for enforcement of penalties.
  • A person may file a sworn complaint with the Department of State alleging a violation of the Act. The sworn complaint must be forwarded to the Attorney General, who is responsible for both the investigation and enforcement of penalties.

 

#3 - Who is prohibited from accepting a contribution?

 

Michigan Campaign Finance Act (MCFA)
Public Act 71 of 1997; MCLA 169.230

For more information about this law, contact the Michigan Department of State, Bureau of Elections.

 

Persons Prohibited from Accepting Contributions

  • The Michigan Campaign Finance Act, as amended, prohibits a committee from knowingly maintaining the receipt of a contribution that is prohibited under the Michigan Gaming Control & Revenue Act, as amended (Public Act 69 of 1997).
  • A committee "knowingly" maintains the receipt of a contribution only if it fails to return the contribution within 30 business days after receiving notice from the Department of State that the committee has received a prohibited contribution.

 

 

Enforcement - A committee that violates this section is subject to the MCFA's general civil penalty of $1,000 for each violation. Enforcement would occur through the regular referral process.