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GOP passes, Snyder signs changes to campaign finance law

DETROIT — Between Christmas and New Year’s Day, Gov. Rick Snyder and the Republican lawmakers approved changes to Michigan’s campaign finance law. The bill doubles the individual limits on contributions to political candidates and committees and will continue to exempt reporting requirements for issue advocacy ads.

Last month, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson proposed changes that would require groups to disclose funding sources. The change would affect issue ads running 30 days before a primary and 60 days before a general election.

Republican legislators blocked the request and passed the law, which maintains anonymity among other changes.

Issue ads are a controversial component of most election cycles. While they don’t explicitly advocate for one candidate by urging a “vote for” they do help viewers to understand which candidate is favored and which one is disliked.

During the 2010 gubernatorial race, Gov. Snyder himself was the target of these issue ads which some believe mask as attack ads. Issue ads accused Snyder of being at Gateway when the company misstated its earnings and suggested he was investigated for insider trading. Snyder has denied the accusations.

No Democrats supported the bill. The changes will impact the 2014 elections.

— Staff report


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