Oct 20, 2010
Michigan chamber funnels $5.3 million to RGA to attack Bernero and Democrats
We can expect many, many more attack ads against Lansing Mayor and Democratic Gubernatorial nominee Virg Bernero while Rick “Chief Executive Outsourcer” Snyder gets to keeps his millions and maintains the lie that he does not accept PAC money and is running a clean, positive campaign.
Rich Robinson, the director of the non-profit and non-partisan Michigan Campaign Finance Network, released a report on Tuesday that said the so far in 2010 the Michigan Chamber of Commerce has contributed more than $5.3 million to the Republican Governors Association (RGA).
The RGA also received $1 million form News Corp., which owns Faux “News," and it has been very busy smearing Bernero. It has spent so much money, that it refuses to even say how much. In fact, it has been "bullying" Michigan television stations into not revealing to the public the size of their substantial ad buys. If a station dares to be honest and reveals that number, they don’t get to share in the millions in smear money and ad revenue.
The spending has been so large that the Outsourcer did not buy a single ad from the time of the primary election in August until just a few days ago.
Earlier this month Robinson tried to get Snyder to convince the RGA to reveal that information, but he claimed “he cannot stop the Republican Governors Association's efforts to push Michigan television stations not to release information about the size of the organization's ad buy.”
The Internal Revenue Service classifies the RGA as a 527 organization whose primary purpose is to support or oppose candidates for public office. Robinson only found out abut that huge donation because contributions to the RGA must be disclosed through the IRS. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce is a 501 (c)(6) nonprofit corporation that does no public disclosure of its donors. Its members’ dues payments are tax deductible as business expenses. In other words, the chamber can accept money from anywhere and from anybody, including foreign governments.
Robinson said the advertising agency for the RGA is Target Enterprises of Encino, Calf. The RGA’s third quarter report to the IRS shows $15.5 million worth of media buys through Target Enterprises. Target has asked several Michigan broadcasters to withhold records of its Michigan gubernatorial ad buys from their public files, and some broadcasters have complied with Target’s request for non-disclosure. Target was the advertising agency for the Rick Snyder’s campaign committee through the primary election. So much for Michigan first with the Outsourcer.
“The Michigan Chamber of Commerce has been aggregating contributions from anonymous donors for candidate-focused electioneering advertisements since the 2000 state election,” Robinson said. “They’ve spent millions of dollars for television advertisements that sought to define political candidates’ suitability for office, and they reported nothing about the sources whose contributions paid for those ads.”
Most people have this old fashioned image of the chamber of commerce as promoting business and the community. That is a false image.
“What is new in 2010 is that the Chamber’s primary financial purpose now appears to be aggregating contributions to give to the Republican Governors Association, an organization whose purpose is to promote the election of candidates for public office,” Robinson said. “The Chamber’s function as a business association is secondary, financially, to its role as a political fund aggregator.”