Whitmer’s fundraising strategy an ‘illegal scheme’: conservative group

Lansing — The leader of the conservative Michigan Freedom Fund filed on Wednesday a campaign finance complaint against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s reelection committee, contending it committed “the largest money grab ever seen in Michigan to ignore contribution limits.”

State law bars candidates for governor in Michigan from receiving more than $7,150 from individual donors and rulings that allow officeholders facing recalls to accept unlimited amounts are invalid, argued Tori Sachs, executive director of the Michigan Freedom Fund, in a complaint filed with the state Bureau of Elections.

“If your office refuses to enforce Michigan law against Governor Whitmer, then you can be sure that candidates will also take advantage of the newly created ‘Whitmer Loophole,'”  Sachs said.

On Monday, the Democratic governor’s campaign submitted its fundraising disclosure for the first seven months of 2021. The document revealed a record fundraising amount for the time frame, $8.6 million, but also about $3.4 million in contributions from donors whose giving surpassed the $7,150 individual donor cap. Five donors gave at least $250,000 each.

Supporters of the governor said she could do it because she was facing recall campaigns. Decisions in the 1980s from then-Secretary of State Richard Austin allowed an officeholder fighting a recall to raise unlimited amounts from donors.