State Republicans Call ‘Recall Exception’ Unconstitutional
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s re-election campaign may have to return or donate more than $3 million to be identified as an additional contribution following a lawsuit brought by the state’s Republican Party.
Detroit News reported that Whitmer has earned a record $8.65 million as of the end of July, including $3.4 million from donors, which exceeds the usual $7,150 limit for individuals. The secretary of state, Jocelyn Benson, reportedly filed a court filing that if there is no refund, the money may have to be refunded, which is unlikely.
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State Republicans have called the “recall exception” unconstitutional. The paper called the exemption a “decades-old state policy” that essentially allowed unlimited contributions because of the possibility of a recall. Whitmer’s campaign has benefited from six-figure donations from several donors, Detroit Free Press reported.
Republicans have said people never “actively” sought to recall Whitmer because the prolonged effort fell short of required voter signatures. They claim that the exception is unfair to them because they cannot donate to their candidates on the same level.
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Whitmer’s office did not immediately respond to an after-hours email from Granthshala News. The communications director for Whitmer’s office told the newspaper that the court filing did indeed “confirm that the campaign’s fundraising was conducted in accordance with the law.”
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In July, Whitmer campaign spokesman Mark Fisk said that if funds in excess of the personal limit are not used for recalls, they can be legally transferred to another account. He cited the Michigan Democratic Party as an example.
This brings up the next problem: If January 1st rolls around and there are no recalls, where will the money go?
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Simon Schuster, executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, told the newspaper The Detroit News that the funds could still be used to help Whitmer’s campaign if they were injected into some kind of political organization.