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Buying Energy Policy in Michigan is a Bipartisan Affair: Lobbyists for DTE and Consumers Energy

July 25, 2016

A recent report from Michigan Campaign Finance Report documents how state legislators, regardless of party affiliation, are influenced by DTE Energy and Consumers Energy on energy policy.

2340-lobbyists-have-an-opinion-on-how-best-to-enact-climate-policyThe report states:

In addition to the lobbyists working on the legislation, at least 86 individual companies have made their positions known by providing official statements to lawmakers. They range from Ford Motor The top photograph shows the scene at a Senate Energy and Technology Committee this spring.Company to a Holiday Inn Express in Bad Axe. On top of those businesses, at least 95 interest groups or governments have also officially weighed in.

At the center of the fight are the state’s dominant electric utilities, DTE Energy and Consumers Energy. Combined, the two utilities have 42 individuals or firms that are registered as lobbyists they employ. However, DTE says not all of its lobbyists are actively working on energy reforms. Plus, DTE and Consumers each work with at least one of the state’s eight largest multi-client firms, which don’t have to disclose how many of their lobbyists are working on specific proposals.


One can see from this first graphic how both Republican and Democratic legislators in Michigan rely heavily on funding from DTE Energy and Consumers Energy.

  • Of the 63 GOP State Representatives, 25 of them have DTE or Consumers Energy as Top 10 donors.
  • For the 45 Democratic State Representatives, 22 of them have DTE or Consumers Energy as Top 10 donors.
  • In the Michigan Senate there are there are 22 out of the 27 GOP Senators with DTE or Consumers Energy as Top 10 donors and 9 out of 10 for the Democratic State Senators.

DTE and Consumers Any

Looking at the second graphic, nearly every member of the Michigan Legislature has received donations from DTE Energy or Consumers Energy. Only 1 Republican State Representative and three Democrats have not received any donations from the two major energy companies in Michigan. However, every single member of the Michigan State Senate has received funds from either DTE Energy or Consumers Energy.

You can track how much each member of the Michigan Legislature has received funding from DTE of Consumers Energy, by going to the MCFN donor tracking data base

The report from the Michigan Campaign Finance Network also lists the top 100 lobbyists in Michigan working on energy policy. The majority of these lobbyists are paid by private businesses, such as DTE, Consumers Energy, Ford Motor Company, General Motors and Whirlpool. In addition, there are numerous business associations that also have paid lobbyist on energy policy such as the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the Michigan Farm Bureau and the Michigan Manufacturing Association.

There are a few entities that have paid lobbyists on energy policy that are based in West Michigan, such as the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce and Amway.

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