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Friday, January 31, 2014

Another NERD Fund Emerges for Governor Rick Snyder, with Online Disclosures

Photo Credit - Fox 2 News
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder closes one NERD Fund to
open another one four months later, with online disclosures.
On the heels of a reelection bid and after signing into law in December 2013 Campaign Finance Law vastly increasing the aggregative limits private corporations can give to candidates, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has opened a second NERD Fund. Snyder announced a closing of the previous NERD Fund last October.

Differences between NERD Fund One and the second: donors to the fund will disclose amounts given online according to the Detroit Free Press.

"Gov. Rick Snyder’s allies have formed a new not-for-profit civic fund that disclosed its first donors Thursday after the governor’s former NERD Fund was criticized for operating in secrecy.
The Moving Michigan Forward fund reported raising $123,400 in the fourth quarter of 2013, with Troy-based HTC Global Services Inc. making the largest single donation of $50,000, according to a quarterly report published on the fund’s website.
Jackson National Life Insurance Co. and Consumers Energy each donated $25,000; the DeVos family’s Alticor Inc. contributed $20,000; the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association donated $2,940; and Snyder’s chief of staff, Dennis Muchmore, chipped in $500, according to the report."
Governor Snyder signed into law increasing the State's existing contribution caps in December, after passage by Michigan's Republican controlled legislature. All Democratic Representatives in the State House and Senate voted against the measure.

Details of the new law include Campaign Finance limits are index for inflation and a new requirement exist in which candidate committees must file two new campaign finance reports in non-election years. The measure defined non-disclosure rules for issue advertisements.

The issue ads normally focus on attacks do not direct viewers to "vote for" or "vote against" a particular candidate. Under the law, issue ads or place robocalls will be required to include an "authorized by" disclaimer ,but will not have to name the donors contributing the advertisement.

The measure increased an individual can donate to $6,800 for candidate for statewide office in a single election cycle, up from $3,400. Limits for state House and Senate candidates will jump to $1,000 and 2,000, respectively. Candidates for Municipal offices caps depend on the size of the community.

In contrast, Independent Political Action Committees (PAC's), can donate up to ten times as much as an individual, ironically one month after the announcement of Governor Snyder's new NERD Fund. Under the new law signed by Snyder, a PAC will be able donate $68,000 to a gubernatorial candidate in the 2014 election cycle, up from $34,000 in 2010.

Michigan House Minority Leader Tim Gremiel stated the measure increasing State Campaign Finance limits is focused on poring "big corporate special interest contributors" money into protecting Republican incumbents seats for the November 4, 2014 General Election.
"(This bill) has nothing to do with the First Amendment," House Minority Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills) said to MLive. "It has everything to do with the Republicans desire to get more money out of their big dollar corporate special interest contributors so they can pore that money into protecting Republican incumbents who have taken all kinds of votes that are against the best interest of Michigan residents."

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