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West Michigan Congressional Districts Funded by the Rich and Powerful

August 8, 2016

Last week we reported on how much money the DeVos Family spent just 2 months before the August 2nd Primary election. The West Michigan family spent $1.5 million during the 56 day period just prior to the August Primary, which means they spent $26,785 a day to buy candidates and political influence at the state level.Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 2.36.08 AM

Now we turn to the two congressional districts that make up Grand Rapids and Holland, the 2nd and 3rd Congressional Districts.

These two congressional races have been dominated by Republicans for decades and that trend is not going to change in the near future. According to, the Republican candidates (both incumbents) have a huge advantage in funding compared to their Democratic challengers.

In the 2nd Congressional race, Bill Huizenga has raised $1,047,454, compared to $11,235 raised by the challenger, Dennis Murphy. The disparity in campaign funding is roughly the same in the 3rd Congressional race, with Justin Amash raising $561,183, compared to a mere $8,157, raised by Douglas Smith. What is more interesting than the amounts that have been raised in both Congressional Districts is the sources of those campaign contributions.

Again, according to OpenSecrets, Bill Huizenga has raised money from some of the wealthiest entities in the state.

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One can see from the graph above that the top contributor so far to Huizenga’s campaign is the DeVos/Van Andel run Amway/Alticor Inc. at $18,000. This contribution from Amway is more than the total amount raised by the Democratic challenger. The second largest donor to Huizenga’s campaign is Rock Holdings, which is the parent company of Quicken Loans, owned by billionaire Dan Gilbert.

Huizenga has also received money from Port City Group, CMS Energy, insurance companies and Koch Industries. Koch Industries is none other than the company owned and run by the Koch Brothers, who are in many ways the national version of what the DeVos family is to Michigan. 

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In the 3rd Congressional race, Justin Amash dominates in fund raising. One can see from the graph above that the largest contributor so far has been Michigan Industrial Tools, which is a company founded by the father of Justin Amash. The second largest contributor is S Abraham & Sons, owned and operated by a wealthy Arab-American family in West Michigan.

The third largest contributor to the Amash campaign is the Windquest Group, which is part of the DeVos family empire. In addition to the Windquest Group, Amway, RDV Corp and DP Fox ventures have also contributed to the Amash campaign and all of them are part of the DeVos family empire.Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 2.23.43 AM

Other major contributors to the Amash campaign are Wolverine Gas & OIl and Autocam Corp. These two companies are run by some of the richest men in West Michigan, Sydney Jansma (Wolverine Gas & Oil) and John Kennedy (Autocam Corp). Jansma is a former board member of the Acton Institute and has been a major player fracking throughout Michigan in recent years

Kennedy is a major player in West Michigan politics and throughout the state. One can see from the chart on the right that both Kennedy and his wife have contributed to hundreds of thousands to candidates across the state and the fifth largest donor to Michigan Political Committees from 2013 – 2014, according to a report from the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. (see chart below) The Autocam Corp CEO sits on the board of the West Michigan Policy Forum and the Acton Institute.

More clear evidence that money from the capitalist class is what determines the electoral process in this country.

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