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We should be concerned about all corporate contributions in the 2020 Michigan Senate Race

February 17, 2020

Last Thursday, the Detroit News ran an article about how the DeVos family has channeled $800,000 to a Super PAC that is targeting Michigan Senator Gary Peters. 

The article breaks down how much each member of the DeVos family has contributed to the Super PAC that is backing the GOP candidate running against Peters, John James. The Super PAC uses the name Better Future MI Fund.

The bulk of the article is typical of how mainstream media deals with the conservative/liberal binary, with comments from both sides, polling data and a brief assessment of the DeVos family influence in electoral politics.

What is missing from the story is information on who has contributed to the re-election campaign of Senator Peters, which should be a basic element of journalism within the framework of electoral politics.

I have seen numerous people posting the Detroit News article on social media, with lots of people expressing concern over the DeVos family’s support for John James. This is completely understandable, considering that the DeVos family has contributed more to political candidates in Michigan than any other family in recent decades. If people read this blog, then they are well aware that GRIID has written a great deal about the DeVos family, possibly more than any other online entity in the past decade, which includes our 400 plus page document on the DeVos Family entitled, We’re Rich and We Do What We Want

However, it is highly problematic to not look at who has been contributing to the Peters campaign, especially since his campaign has raised more money as of the last election finance reporting ($11,578,659), which is $3 million more than what John James has raised at $8,238,521.

Senator Peters is not being funded by benign entities, but many from the corporate world, particularly the military industry. This should not be surprising since Peters is a member of the Homeland Security Committee and the Armed Services Committee. In addition, Peters has been a staunch defender of US empire and US imperialism since he took over for Senator Carl Levin. 

Some of the major contributors to Senator Gary Peters in recent years are: General Dynamics (military), Blackstone Group (global real estate), Dow Chemical, DTE Energy, Goldman Sachs, Ford Motor Company, Visa Inc and CMS Energy. 

The problem with the failure to provide robust reporting on political contributions during an election year is that it often perpetuates the liberal/conservative binary and doesn’t challenge the problem of corporate influence in electoral politics, regardless of which party a candidate belongs to.

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