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Hank Meijer is being scrutinized for his campaign contributions, not his $10.192 billion in wealth

October 26, 2020

On Saturday, MLive first reported that Hank Meijer (Meijer retail stores) failed to include his name on a campaign finance document.

The document and money in question that Hank Meijer contributed was for the Congressional Leadership Fund, which is a GOP Political Action Committee, specifically to elected people to the House of Representatives. 

The Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filled a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), which you can read at this link.

MLive cites John Truscott in their story, but they never say who he is speaking on behalf of, whether it is the Meijer family, the Meijer Foundation or Peter Meijer’s campaign. Truscott, who now runs a high powered PR firm,Truscott Rossman, used to be the press secretary for Gov. John Engler. 

However, the major omission in this article was any real discussion about the problem of money in politics in general, plus the issue of transparency. Money in politics has always been a problem in the US, but it has only escalated since Citizens United. There is the issue of the huge increase in the amount of money that can be channeled to candidates, which as of this writing is nearing $11 billion for the 2020 election, which is nearly 50% more than what was spent in 2016.

Then there is the issue of Dark Money, which “refers to spending meant to influence political outcomes where the source of the money is not disclosed, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

In this particular case, the entity that was created using Meijer funds, was called Montcalm LLC. Hank Meijer’s name should have been attached to the campaign contributions, according to Truscott, which only amounted to $150,000. 

Hank Meijer, along with his brother Doug, is listed as #60 in the wealthiest billionaires, according to recent data compiled by Americans for Tax Fairness and the Institute for Policy Studies.

Between February of 2019 and October or 2020, the wealth of Hank & Doug Meijer grew from $6.8 billion to $10.192 billion, which is a pretty substantial increase, especially considering that the pandemic over the last 6 months has created millions of unemployed people, food insecure people and millions of people facing eviction. The amount of money that Hank Meijer is said to have contributed to the Congressional Leadership Fund – $150,000, is pennies compared to the Meijer family wealth. In fact, Meijer would have to contributed $150,000 a total of 67,946 times to equal their total  wealth of $10,192,000,000. 

The excess wealth of the Meijer family is not in question here, although that should be what MLive and any other local news source should investigate, in addition to campaign financing. In a world where the wealth gap is at its largest in modern history, we should be having serious conversation about how so few people can accumulate so much wealth, while so many are struggling to simply survive. 

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