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DeVos family 2022 Election spending means $12 Million worth of harm

November 6, 2022

For anyone who follows GRIID, you know that one of the things we do is to monitor and critique systems of power and oppression in the Grand Rapids area. These systems of power and oppression are the organizations and families that have a great deal of power over the masses. And of course, the family in this area that has the most power over people, is the DeVos family.

There are numerous ways in which the DeVos family has influence over people, such as their various business and other Capitalist ventures, along with their family foundations. In addition, the other way that the DeVos family exerts power over people is using their considerable wealth to buy politicians, thus buying public policy. 

Over the past several decades the DeVos has been a major contributor to the Republican Party, both in the nation and in Michigan. The electoral influence began with Rich DeVos, the co-founder of Amway, but despite the fact that he has been dead for several years, the DeVos family continues to be one of the top election funders in Michigan.

When you add up all the money that each of the DeVos family members contributed at the state level, along with one of their henchmen (Stephen Ehmann – President of RDV Corp.), then include the money they have contributed in Kent County and the City of Grand Rapids for the upcoming election, the total comes to $12,304,750. 

The campaign contributions made by the DeVos family have gone to candidates, to Political Actions Committees (PACs), Ballot Initiative groups, State GOP committees and the Kent County Republican Committee. Now, this $12 Million and change is just in Michigan, The DeVos family has also contributed millions to political candidates in other states, which you can research at https://www.opensecrets.org/donor-lookup. Lastly, there is Dark Money contributions that the DeVos family has made, but are difficult to track since many of these Dark Money groups do not reveal who their contributors are. For more on Dark Money groups, go here https://www.opensecrets.org/dark-money/basics. 

Below is a breakdown of the Electoral contributions made by members of the DeVos family (and Stephen Ehmann), for the State, County and Grand Rapids elections. All of the $12 Million and change is funding candidates and ballot initiatives that are Republican or Republican-leaning (in the case of non-partisan races and ballot initiatives). The candidates and the ballot initiatives they have given campaign funds to will lead to policies that do real harm in Michigan, Kent County and Grand Rapids. Here is a list of what this harm looks like:

  • Anti-Abortion
  • Anti-labor union
  • Homophobia
  • Transphobia
  • Undermines Public Education
  • Perpetuates environmental disaster
  • Creates more poverty
  • Perpetuates White Supremacy
  • Perpetuates Settler Colonialism
  • Promotes Privatization 
  • Religious bigotry
  • Promotes US Imperialism

Think about what this harm means the next time you attend something funded by the DeVos family, the groups that rely on their foundation money or their names on buildings that you pass by. One cannot separate the charitable contributions the DeVos family makes and all of the systemic harm they cause through their businesses and their election funding. 

DeVos family campaign finance breakdown

Maria & Doug DeVos$4,256,900

Betsy DeVos$3,562,550

Cheri DeVos$1,668,500

Daniel DeVos$1,457,700

Pamella DeVos$565,800

Dick DeVos$400,000

Stephen Ehmann$313,500

Kent County Commission races $60,900

GR City Commission 1st Ward$9450

GR City Commission  3rd Ward $9450

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