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Undermining Democracy: Michigan's Failure to Limit Contributions to PACs

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Publication Date: February 2004

Publisher(s): PIRGIM Education Fund

Author(s): Elizabeth Ridlington; Brian Imus

Funder(s): Joyce Foundation

Funder(s): Joyce Foundation

Special Collection: The Joyce Foundation

Topic: Politics (Campaigns, lobbying, and pressure groups)

Keywords: Campaign contributions; campaign finance reform

Type: Report

Coverage: Michigan

Abstract:

Michigan's campaign finance laws allow citizens to make large donations to individual candidates and unlimited contributions to political action committees (PACs), undermining the ability of ordinary citizens to be heard in the political process. The absence of limits on giving to PACs distorts what should be a tool through which ordinary citizens can aggregate their political power into just another route for wealthy citizens to use money to influence elections. An analysis of data from the 2002 election cycle shows that some Michigan PACs are dominated by a few wealthy individuals who made contributions far greater than those feasible for citizens of average means.