Jan 29, 2007
When is a PAC not a PAC
With school board elections coming up – the deadline to file is Feb. 14 – and the attempted book banning at Howell High School by the so-called “Love” PAC, I decided to look on the Secretary of State’s web site to see who has contributed to the PAC and how much. Someone recently claimed in the comments section that the so-called “love” group has 1,900 members.
However, when I went to the SOS web site I could not find the group had ever registered as a PAC. I know they endorsed in last year’s election, and they even managed to get a member elected. So why no PAC?
According to the SOS, a PAC must be registered if they attempt to affect the outcome of an election. The definition says “Michigan's Campaign Finance Act, P.A. 388 of 1976, to influence voters for or against the nomination or election of one or more candidates in Michigan or the qualification, passage or defeat of one or more ballot questions in Michigan. “
I looked up old news reports when they first sprang up, and it clearly said they were forming a Political Action Committee. This is from the March 23, 2006 Livingston County Daily Press & Argus:
Frustrated that the Howell Public Schools district has not addressed their issues, a group of parents want to push traditional values to center stage in the upcoming May 2 school board election.
This week, they announced the formation of a political action committee to do that pushing.
Paperwork was filed last week for the formation of the Livingston Organization for Values in Education Political Action Committee by members of the LOVE traditional values group.
The activity of the LOVE PAC may be something unique in the world of school board elections. Brad Banasik, legal counsel for the Michigan Association of School Boards, said he had never heard of a PAC forming in a specific school district for a school election.
"Most board elections are considered to be nonpartisan," he said. "Your PACs tend to be involved in partisan issues. You may find a PAC in something like a recall election where they form to support the board members being recalled, but for a PAC to support a group of candidates or an individual candidate, that's the first I've ever heard of it."
I’m no expert on campaign finance, so hopefully someone out there can set me straight on why I could not find a PAC registered.