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Every Thursday afternoon, Michigan Radio's All Things Considered Host Jennifer White takes a closer look at the issues affecting Michigan politics with state political analysts including Ken Sikkema, Susam Demas, Debbie Dingell, Bill Ballenger and others.

Political roundup: Bipartisan panel criticizes new rules that codify unlimited “dark money”

State Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, who supports the legislation, says campaign donations are a way to exercise free speech.


The Michigan Senate yesterday passed legislation that could vastly increase corporate and special interest spending on campaigns.

Vicki Barnett, a former mayor of Farmington Hills and a former Democratic legislator, and Joe Haveman, a former chair of the Michigan House Appropriations Committee and a current candidate for state Senate joined Stateside on Friday to discuss.

“I’m not a fan of the Senate bills that passed yesterday and are on their way to a speedy passage in the state House. There are problems with it,” Barnett said. “There are also problems with not doing anything.”

The largest problem with the legislation, Barnett said, is that it allows candidates to solicit unlimited funds from friendly super PACs, and lets campaigns share consultants and attorneys with those super PACs.

“It really leaves the question open, how independent are these super PACs?” Barnett said.

Haveman was in almost complete agreement.

“I think people are just fed up with all the tweaking of the elections,” he said. “Elected officials are sent there to do public policy for the greater good. They’re not there to always keep changing the rules of how you’re elected.”

For more analysis, listen to the full conversation above.

Ken Sikkema and Vicki Barnett join Stateside every Friday to break down the week’s political news. Haveman joined Stateside in Sikkema’s absence.

(Subscribe to the Stateside podcast on iTunesGoogle Play, or with this RSS link)

Stateside is produced daily by a dedicated group of producers and production assistants. Listen daily, on-air, at 3 and 8 p.m., or subscribe to the daily podcast wherever you like to listen.
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