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Report: "Dark Money" dominates spending on Michigan Supreme Court political campaigns

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

A new report is raising questions about transparency in Michigan Supreme Court elections.

Craig Mauger is with the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. He says in 2016 so-called "dark money" helped the two Republican incumbents outspend their Democratic challengers by more than 30 to one.

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"Dark money" is money that is spent during political campaigns comes from undisclosed sources.  The overall cost of the 2016 Michigan Supreme Court races was $3.4 million. Only 50.1% of that money came from sources that were disclosed in campaign finance reports.

Mauger worries about the possible influence shadowy ‘dark money’ groups may try to exert on the court. 

“Democrats weren’t really attempting to win either of these two seats … and still this money poured in,” says Mauger.

Mauger says Michigan’s Supreme Courtraces have become the most expensive and least transparent in the country.  

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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