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Campaign finance complaint filed against funders of ballot drive to repeal renewable energy law

A new solar array at Platte River State Fish Hatchery began generating electricity for the facility last week. The Platte River location is one of five Michigan state hatcheries receiving solar power installations this year.
Ellie Katz
IPR News
Solar array at a Michigan state fish hatchery

A group that's fighting a new renewable energy law is being accused of campaign finance violations.

The controversial new law, as of November 29, will hand control of issuing permits for new wind and solar projects to a state agency — the Michigan Public Service Commission — rather than local governments.

Attorney Mark Brewer represents Lenawee County farmer John Tuckerman, who wants to lease his land to a renewable energy company. Brewer filed a complaint on Tuckerman's behalf with the Michigan Secretary of State.

Brewer said the group named in the complaint, Our Home, Our Voice, is a 501(c)(4) non-profit in name only.

He said in reality, it has been planning, soliciting and accepting funds for, and executing a statewide ballot initiative effort — and illegally funneling donations to a group called Citizens for Local Choice, without filing required reports, in violation of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act.

"This group has been raising money for a ballot proposal since at least last November, and they have failed to file a ballot question committee," said Brewer. "So they've kept their donors secret, and the public is entitled to know who those donors are."

Citizens for Local Choice called the complaint "frivolous" and said it has no merit.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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