Should Michigan Politicians Be Able To Pay Off Their Campaign Loans?
An interesting bill was passed by the Michigan Senate last week that would allow state senators who had earlier campaigned for the Michigan House of Representatives to transfer unspent campaign funds from their Senate campaign committees to their inactive and out of funds House committees, in order to pay off old debts.
The Bill is Senate Bill 1022 which passed the Michigan Senate by a margin of 22-12.
According to current Michigan law these transfers of donated campaign cash from their Senate to House committees are not permitted. They were not permitted apparently because Senate committees have significantly higher donor contribution limits than House committees.
Some are saying that the legislation would currently benefit State Senators Jack Brandenburg, R-Harrison Township, and Jim Marleau, R-Lake Orion. They say this because they both lent their House campaigns money to the tune of approximately $93,000. Senator Brandenburg loaned his House campaign $48,000 and Senator Marleau loaned his House campaign $45,000.00. Both Senators are term limited out of office.
Under current Michigan law the campaign funds can only be transferred to another eligible committee, can be returned to those who donated it, or given to charity.
I really do not see a problem if a Michigan politician pays off his previous House campaign debt with funds in his current Senate campaign funds account, even if they are paying him or herself back. The theory being people donated their money to help get these politicians elected and if they are elected to a House or Senate seat does it really matter.
The question could be around corruption, that would be how could they use this new law if passed in some corrupt manner. I cannot think of one right now.
By the way I do agree with some of the current Senators that perhaps these current Senators who wish to pay themselves back with these funds should have abstained from the vote.