Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun spent more than a million dollars in the last election cycle to ensure he keeps his monopoly at the busiest border crossing in North America and killed the planned International Crossing (DRIC) bridge.
Last week on the last session day of the 95th Legislature session, the entire Michigan Senate Republican caucus voted no on discharging House Bill 4961 from committee; a bill that would authorize Michigan to enter into a public-private partnership with Canada to build the DRIC bridge. It occurred in the very week that the post-election campaign statements were due to be released to the public, and it showed a major reason something that has such widespread bipartisan and binational support was killed.
According to the Detroit Free Press, “the Moroun family -- Matty, his wife, Nora, son Matthew and daughter-in-law Lindsey” spent more than $1 million in campaign cash.” The fact is it is probably much more because he has so many companies with different names.
“He was especially generous to candidates in the state Senate, where the DRIC proposal has been bottled up all year and finally was shelved Thursday,” the Free Press reported. “Moroun gave thousands of dollars to 19 Senate candidates, and 15 of them won. He gave at least $150,000 to political action committees dedicated to electing Republican Senate candidates.”
“Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop successfully blocked bringing a vote on the DRIC proposal to the Senate floor,” but in May he promised an up or down vote. The Moroun family has contributed nearly $400,000 this year to political action committees (PAC) and candidates controlled by Bishop that helped Senate Republicans, to Bishop's unsuccessful attorney general campaign or directly to Senate Republican candidate committees to keep the family monopoly.
The Free Press reported that “In both the House and Senate, many of the contributions came after Oct. 17, the last campaign finance deadline before the Nov. 2 election. Those donations didn't become public until Thursday, when post-election campaign finance reports were due to the Secretary of State's Office.”
The timing is suspect. Moroun made sure the contributions would not come out until after the election, and Bishop made sure the news of the generous contributions would not come out until after he had successfully blocked a vote on DRIC. Despite it only being Dec. 6, Bishop made sure the last session day was last Thursday; the shortest lame duck session in recent memory, an with plenty of unfinished business.
In fact, the last session day ran all day and all night on Thursday, and it adjourned at 3:50 a.m. on Friday morning. In other words, instead of conducting business in the light of day, he choose to keep the Senate in a marathon session until almost 4 a.m. so session would not run until after Thursday.