Michigan Chamber Urges Legislature to Close 'Granholm Loophole' Which Condones the Laundering of Tax Dollars for Political Campaigns

Apr 19, 2001, 01:00 ET from Michigan Chamber of Commerce

    LANSING, Mich., April 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Shortly after launching her 2002
 gubernatorial campaign, Attorney General Jennifer Granholm has approved a
 sweetheart deal that allows the state's big-city mayors to use tax dollars to
 pay off the $1 million debt incurred by the Michigan Municipal League's ill-
 fated 2000 ballot proposal (00-2), says the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.
     (Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000320/DEM039 )
     "Jennifer Granholm's anti-taxpayer opinion creates the largest loophole in
 the Michigan Campaign Finance Act's 25-year history," said Robert LaBrant,
 Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the Michigan Chamber.  "Her
 opinion (No. 7080) sanctions the laundering of city and village tax dollars
 through the Michigan Municipal League.  The Michigan Chamber will seek to have
 the Legislature close the 'Granholm loophole' during this current legislative
 session."
     "Attorney General Granholm's opinion has gutted Section 57 of the Michigan
 Campaign Finance Act," continued LaBrant.  "She has given a green light to
 public bodies to launder taxpayer dollars through local governmental lobby
 groups to engage in political activity that is otherwise prohibited.  Attorney
 General Granholm has taken the old legal maxim that you can't do indirectly
 what the law prohibits you from doing directly and stands it on its head.  The
 Attorney General has opened the door to widespread abuse of municipal tax
 dollars to fund ballot question campaigns."
     Michigan Chamber President & CEO Jim Barrett said: "When individuals and
 businesses pay taxes to cities, they expect those hard-earned tax dollars to
 be used to provide essential services, such as police and fire protection."
     "In a deliberate attempt to circumvent Michigan's Campaign Finance Act,
 last year cities and villages used tax dollars to advocate a dangerous
 amendment to the State Constitution," continued Barrett.  "Jennifer Granholm
 could have righted this wrong.  Instead this week's politically-inspired AG
 opinion has opened the door to further misuse of tax dollars for political
 purposes by local governments and public school districts.  In her quest for
 the 2002 gubernatorial nomination, she may, with this opinion, have endeared
 herself to big city mayors.  However, she has done a terrible injustice to
 every Michigan taxpayer."
     "Last year, big city mayors used tax dollars to push a ballot proposal
 that was unfair to police officers and firefighters.  At the same time, some
 public school districts used tax dollars to campaign against a ballot proposal
 to expand parental choice of schools," added Barrett.
     "The 'Granholm loophole' opens the door to the very real possibility that,
 in 2001 or 2002, big city mayors or the education establishment will channel
 tax dollars through the non-profit associations they control to finance state
 and/or local campaigns to raise taxes, increase government spending or lift
 limits on government borrowing.  The Legislature can and should prevent this
 from happening by passing legislation to close the 'Granholm loophole,'"
 concluded Barrett.
     The Michigan Chamber of Commerce is a statewide business organization
 which represents approximately 7,000 employers, trade associations and local
 chambers of commerce.  The Michigan Chamber was established in 1959 to be an
 advocate for Michigan's job providers in the legislative, political and legal
 process.
 
 

SOURCE Michigan Chamber of Commerce
    LANSING, Mich., April 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Shortly after launching her 2002
 gubernatorial campaign, Attorney General Jennifer Granholm has approved a
 sweetheart deal that allows the state's big-city mayors to use tax dollars to
 pay off the $1 million debt incurred by the Michigan Municipal League's ill-
 fated 2000 ballot proposal (00-2), says the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.
     (Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000320/DEM039 )
     "Jennifer Granholm's anti-taxpayer opinion creates the largest loophole in
 the Michigan Campaign Finance Act's 25-year history," said Robert LaBrant,
 Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the Michigan Chamber.  "Her
 opinion (No. 7080) sanctions the laundering of city and village tax dollars
 through the Michigan Municipal League.  The Michigan Chamber will seek to have
 the Legislature close the 'Granholm loophole' during this current legislative
 session."
     "Attorney General Granholm's opinion has gutted Section 57 of the Michigan
 Campaign Finance Act," continued LaBrant.  "She has given a green light to
 public bodies to launder taxpayer dollars through local governmental lobby
 groups to engage in political activity that is otherwise prohibited.  Attorney
 General Granholm has taken the old legal maxim that you can't do indirectly
 what the law prohibits you from doing directly and stands it on its head.  The
 Attorney General has opened the door to widespread abuse of municipal tax
 dollars to fund ballot question campaigns."
     Michigan Chamber President & CEO Jim Barrett said: "When individuals and
 businesses pay taxes to cities, they expect those hard-earned tax dollars to
 be used to provide essential services, such as police and fire protection."
     "In a deliberate attempt to circumvent Michigan's Campaign Finance Act,
 last year cities and villages used tax dollars to advocate a dangerous
 amendment to the State Constitution," continued Barrett.  "Jennifer Granholm
 could have righted this wrong.  Instead this week's politically-inspired AG
 opinion has opened the door to further misuse of tax dollars for political
 purposes by local governments and public school districts.  In her quest for
 the 2002 gubernatorial nomination, she may, with this opinion, have endeared
 herself to big city mayors.  However, she has done a terrible injustice to
 every Michigan taxpayer."
     "Last year, big city mayors used tax dollars to push a ballot proposal
 that was unfair to police officers and firefighters.  At the same time, some
 public school districts used tax dollars to campaign against a ballot proposal
 to expand parental choice of schools," added Barrett.
     "The 'Granholm loophole' opens the door to the very real possibility that,
 in 2001 or 2002, big city mayors or the education establishment will channel
 tax dollars through the non-profit associations they control to finance state
 and/or local campaigns to raise taxes, increase government spending or lift
 limits on government borrowing.  The Legislature can and should prevent this
 from happening by passing legislation to close the 'Granholm loophole,'"
 concluded Barrett.
     The Michigan Chamber of Commerce is a statewide business organization
 which represents approximately 7,000 employers, trade associations and local
 chambers of commerce.  The Michigan Chamber was established in 1959 to be an
 advocate for Michigan's job providers in the legislative, political and legal
 process.
 
 SOURCE  Michigan Chamber of Commerce