Committees will pay over $225,000 for campaign finance law violations
FEBRUARY 23, 2009
Secretary Land says fines send strong message
Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land today announced that three political
fundraising committees are paying a total of $225,250 for violating Michigan's
Campaign Finance Act.
The penalties are part of conciliation agreements signed by the Department of
State and the Senate Democratic Fund, Mark Schauer for State Senate committee
and the Committee to Elect Bob Schockman.
"Michigan's campaign finance laws serve the public by illuminating the
political contribution process," Land said. "Nobody wins when those laws are
flouted. The transparency they provide is essential to a healthy, vigorous
democracy. These fines will reassure all voters that their interests are being
protected. They also send a clear message that no one is above the law."
The agreements resolve violations stemming from the 2006 state Senate races.
Contributions to the Senate Democratic Fund by the Schauer and Schockman
campaigns violated the annual $20,000-per-person limit to caucus committees. The
Schauer and Schockman committee actions, as well as the Senate Democratic Fund's
acceptance of the excess contributions, prompted then-Senate Majority Leader Ken
Sikkema to file campaign finance complaints with the Department of State.
The fines reflect the total amount of the excess contributions and $1,000 per
violation. The breakdown is as follows:
- Senate Democratic Fund (SDF) -- The SDF agreed to return $202,250 to the
Mark Schauer for State Senate committee. That's the amount of the improper
contributions made by the committee. The SDF also paid a fine of $10,000,
which equals $9,000 for each of the nine occasions on which it accepted excess
contributions plus $1,000 for violating a previous conciliation agreement.
- Mark Schauer for State Senate -- $208,250 total, which equals the amount
of the excess contribution as well as $6,000 for each of the six separate
- Committee to Elect Bob Schockman -- $7,000 total, which equals the amount
of the excess contributions plus $1,000 for violating the Campaign Finance
The initial complaint involved 13 candidate committees, nine of which
previously were dismissed because their excess contributions were returned as
allowed by law and one was previously resolved via the conciliation process.