Campaign disclosure lauded
SEPTEMBER 17, 2008
Michigan ranks third among states with the nation's
strongest campaign finance disclosure programs, up from sixth last year,
Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land announced today.
Grading State Disclosure 2008 is the fifth annual
nationwide assessment of state-level campaign finance disclosure programs and
practices. Michigan achieved the third overall ranking by placing within the top
10 in three of the study's four categories, including two first-place rankings.
Michigan's grade improves to an A- this year, up from a B in 2007.
"Michigan continues to lead the way in campaign finance
reporting and I'm proud of what we've accomplished," Land said. "We're working
hard to make sure voters have all the information before going to the polls. In
addition, we continually seek changes that will save money, improve efficiency
and increase the openness of the campaign finance process. We'll continue to
build on this success."
The report evaluates states based on their campaign
disclosure laws, electronic filing programs, accessibility of campaign finance
information and the usability of disclosure Web sites.
Among the study's findings:
- Michigan's electronic filing program earned an A+ and
top ranking because both statewide and legislative candidates reaching a
threshold of $20,000 are required to file electronically. In addition, the
report noted that upgrades made to the system in 2008 improve ease of use.
- In the Online Contextual and Technical Usability
category, Michigan received an A+ grade and a No. 1 ranking. Michigan's online
disclosure site was lauded for featuring summaries of totals raised and spent
by candidates dating back to 1998 and detailed explanations of the data
available. Michigan was one of only seven states to achieve the highest
possible usability test rating in this year's survey.
- The online searchable databases of contributions and
expenditures were called "among the most comprehensive databases in the
nation." Michigan earned an A and ranked fourth in the Disclosure Content
Accessibility category for the second straight year.
Forty states earned passing grades while 10 others failed
to meet the report's criteria for a satisfactory campaign disclosure program,
down from 14 in 2007. Assessments are based on research of state laws as of
The report is prepared by the Campaign Disclosure Project,
which is a collaboration of the University of California at Los Angeles School
of Law, the Center for Governmental Studies and the California Voter Foundation.
It is supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts.
For more information about
elections and campaign finance
in Michigan, visit the department's Web site at
The Grading State Disclosure report is available at