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

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


Publication Date: February 2004

Publisher: PIRGIM Education Fund

Author(s): Elizabeth Ridlington; Brian Imus

Research Area: Politics

Keywords: Campaign contributions; campaign finance reform

Type: Report

Coverage: Michigan


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.