A liberal political activist group is going after Marshall Republican State Representative Matt Hall.  It’s also targeting Holland area Republican Jim Lilly.

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The Wisconsin-based Center for Media and Democracy is accusing them of fudging on campaign finance disclosures.  The group earlier in the week had indicated it would be filing complaints against Michigan lawmakers and yesterday made good on the claim. The CMD filed its complaints with Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.

The self-proclaimed political watchdog group claims Representative Hall was given access to a software system that can be used to help manage campaigns and constituent communications planning.  It claims the use of that software should have been reported as a campaign contribution. The source of the software is claimed to be the American Legislative Exchange Council. Representatives Hall and Lilly are listed on the Council website as Michigan State co-directors.

The complaint alleges the Council is a conservative policy-driven organization. The software in question, says the CMD, boils down to a program to assist political candidates to manage communications with supporters and potential voters. The claim is that makes it a campaign tool. CMD claims the software is worth thousands of dollars and having access to that should have been reported by Representatives Hall and Lilly as a campaign contribution.

We’ve been unable to reach Representative Hall about the complaint. The Detroit News is quoting Representative Lilly as saying it's a lot about nothing. He says, “It’s completely without merit. I’ve never even utilized the software.” Lilly also tells the News he is not aware of any Michigan lawmaker using the program.

The Center for Media and Democracy has a viewpoint 180 degrees apart. The group’s Executive Director is Arn Pearson who says, “ALEC CARE is a brazen scheme to help ALEC’s overwhelmingly Republican members win reelection.”

The group filed similar complaints against Republican lawmakers in more than a dozen other states.  The CMD alleges not only is there a campaign contribution issue, but non-profits like ALEC are strictly prohibited from campaign-related activities. CMD is also filing a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service about its claims.

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