The Michigan Department of State resolves two campaign finance complaints against Governor Whitmer and campaign committee

DECEMBER 21, 2021

The Michigan Department of State today resolved two campaign finance complaints brought against Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Whitmer for Governor campaign committee.

"As with any complaint, the professional staff with Michigan's Bureau of Elections conducted a thorough analysis that included a review of all relevant laws, policies, and the facts presented, which resulted in the Department concluding that there was no legal violation in either instance," said Department spokesman Jake Rollow.

The first complaint involved the use of campaign committee funds to pay for a chartered flight for Governor Whitmer's non-state related travel. The Department concluded that the use of campaign funds to pay for the chartered flight was a permissible use of funds because their purpose was to ensure the Governor's physical safety in response to credible and ongoing threats related to her role as Governor of Michigan. The Governor subsequently reimbursed the campaign committee for the market value of first-class flights for herself and her family.

The second complaint concerned the Whitmer for Governor campaign committee's acceptance of donations in excess of campaign contribution limits due to several recall efforts, as permitted under a longstanding interpretation of Michigan campaign finance law established in a 1983 interpretive statement and 1984 declaratory ruling issued by the Department. While the Department would like to revisit the decades-old policy regarding fundraising into a campaign committee during a recall effort, and would welcome a request for a revised declaratory ruling, in the matter before the Department, which is bound by precedent and law, there was no evidence of a violation.

The Department published its analyses and resolution of both complaints on its website.

 

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