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Michigan companies and influence peddling in the 2012 election

November 1, 2012

We hear every day how much money influences politics, but more often than not the specifics of that dynamic doesn’t reach most voters.

For instance, when was the last time you read a story in one of the major local newspapers or saw a story on one of the commercial TV stations about which Michigan companies were buying influence in the 2012 elections?

It is rare to see those kinds of stories, even though it is critical information to how the electoral process actually functions in this country. So lets take a look at some of the larger Michigan companies and which federal candidates have been the recipients of their money.

Let’s start with energy companies. DTE is a major player in Michigan and they are not shy about financing political campaigns. According to Open Secrets, DTE has contributed $646,380 to candidates in 2012. The top recipients of their contributions are Sen. Debbie Stabenow $54,940, Rep. John Dingell $20,800 and Rep. Fred Upton $20,000.

Another big energy company in Michigan is Consumers Energy, also known as CMS Energy. In 2012, CMS Energy has contributed $228,653 to candidates for federal office. The top recipient of campaign money from CMS Energy is Rep. Candice Miller $27,350, followed by Rep. Tim Walberg $17,500 and Sen. Debbie Stabenow $15,050.

How about the Auto Industry? One cannot talk about Michigan businesses and not talk about the car companies. General Motors has contributed $485,709 to candidates in 2012. President Barack Obama leads all recipients with $58,123, followed by Mitt Romney with $28,815, Rep. Dave Camp $26,000 and Sen. Debbie Stabenow $19,150.

The Ford Motor Company has contributed almost double what GM has, with $906,938. As of the last campaign finance deadline, Ford had contributed $48,285 to Mitt Romney, $36,253 to Barack Obama and $25,800 to Rep. John Dingell.

The Midland-based company, Dow Chemical, has contributed $1,149,332 to candidates in 2012. The largest recipients of the company’s money are Mitt Romney $59,648 and Barack Obama $20,340.

Closer to West Michigan we see no major changes with numerous companies contributing significant amounts to influence the outcome of the 2012 elections. Meijer has contributed $224,189 to candidates so far this year. The top recipient’s of Meijer political money are Mitt Romney $13,251, Pete Hoekstra $10,000, Bill Huizenga $7,000 and Barack Obama $5,500.

The office furniture manufacturer Steelcase has contributed $32,250 to candidates in 2012. $9,500 has gone to Barack Obama and $5,700 to Mitt Romney.

Amway has contributed more money to political candidates than any other company in West Michigan and has a long history of being a heavy hitter in political contributions. The Ada-based company has contributed $825,050 to candidates so far in 2012. The top recipient of Amway money in the 2012 elections is Mitt Romney $46.750, followed by Pete Hoekstra $31,300, then Justin Amash $28,500 and Bill Huizenga at $26,000.

For the most part, Michigan companies spread their money out to both major political parties, which tells us that they want access and influence no matter who wins.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Paula permalink
    November 1, 2012 6:08 pm

    Justin Amash is sometimes too good to be true. We would be totally foolish to get rid of him this November. There are only 1/100 politicians like this guy who have the willingness to say no to government spending and government solutions. Steve Pestka has admitted that he would have voted to raise the debt, and doesn’t name any area in which he would cut. Classic Washington good ol boy. We cant afford to put that guy in office. Unless we want more debt, and want to be more dependent on China.

  2. November 1, 2012 6:24 pm

    Paula, your response has virtually nothing to do with this article, which is pointing out how much private companies influence election outcomes and buy politicians. It is ironic that you advocate for Amash, when he himself, like Pestka, has been the recipient of plenty of corporate money.

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