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9 of the top 30 political donors in the state are from West MI, but the DeVos family is number one on the list

February 24, 2019

With all of the data from the 2017-2018 election cycle now in, we can finally see who the big money contributors were. Many of the names on the list are familiar to most, especially if you in West Michigan.

In fact, according to a recent post from the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, 9 out of the top 30 donors during the last election cycle are from West Michigan.

  • DeVos family                                 $11.3 million
  • Kennedy family                             $1.1 million
  • Haworth family                             $915,000
  • Van Andel family                          $885,000
  • Jandernoa family                         $795,000
  • J.C. Huizenga                               $762,000
  • Secchia family                              $573,000
  • Meijer family                                 $567,000
  • Terri Lynn Land & Dan Hibma  $450,000

Many of the people on this list from West Michigan are also part of the Grand Rapids Power Structure, in part, because of their own personal wealth, but also because of the organizations they belong to, organizations which often further their wealth and power

Of course, the DeVos family is at the top of this list and has been for years in terms of political contributions from people residing in Michigan. The graph below, provides details of some of the larger contributions that the DeVos family made during the most recent election cycle, with a breakdown funding at the federal and stat level. Two of the larger PACs the DeVos family contributed were the Great Lakes Education Project (which Betsy DeVos founded) and the Michigan Freedom Network, which is run by DeVos political operative Greg McNeilly

One can search on the database provided by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, under the heading Follow the Money

Fulfilling the DeVos Agenda

However, while it is important to look at which candidates/politicians the DeVos family contributed to, it is equally important to look at how they voted. This is important, since the way that the politicians (who received funding from the DeVos family) have voted is completely in step with the ideological values of the most powerful family in West Michigan.

We know that the DeVos family supports charter schools and private schools over public education. We know that the Michigan legislators who have received funding from the DeVos family have voted for directing taxpayer money to charter schools, passed legislation to shift public school teacher pensions away from traditional pension funding to a 401K system.

We know that the DeVos family despises organized labor, so their funded politicians have voted to make Michigan a Right to Work state, have taken away benefits from public sector employees and have undermined unions across the state. In contrast, DeVos funded politicians have voted over and over again for policies that are beneficial to the business community, especially large companies that transfers more public money into the private sector.

We also know that the DeVos family funded politicians have voted to legally allow adoption agencies to prohibit same-sex partners from adopting, plus the same politicians passed legislation to allow for increased campaign contributions to candidates running for office in Michigan.

Lastly, it is important to mention that DeVos-backed candidates have been in favor of the Enbridge’s Line 5, which puts the Great Lakes at risk of contamination AND DeVos funded candidates have been absolutely complicit in the racist and ecological disaster that is occurring in Flint.

All of this is what DeVos political money buys in Michigan. So the next time you all want to celebrate ArtPrize, Start Garden, Boxed Water, AmplifyGR or any other aspect of the DeVos empire, remember what this family really represents.

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