The ongoing brutal winter weather affecting all of Michigan has given state candidates a brief reprieve from one of the few transparency measures in place.
Thursday marks the day when candidates for the Legislature — as well as officials who did not seek re-election or were term-limited out-of-office in 2018 — were required to file campaign finance disclosures. But with the vast majority of state offices closed due to the historically cold weather, those disclosures have been put on pause, according to a statement from the Secretary of State.
“Committees owing original and amended statements during the closure of State offices will not be penalized for late filings as a result of the closures,” the Secretary of State said on its website last night. “We look forward to working with you to receive your filings as promptly as possible upon the opening of our Office.”
— Craig Mauger (@CraigDMauger) January 31, 2019
The disclosure delay was first pointed out on Twitter last night by Craig Mauger, executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, a Lansing-based watchdog group monitoring money in Michigan’s politics.
Campaign finance was at the forefront of last year’s Lame Duck session with bills that would have made Michigan even less transparent by further shielding donors to political nonprofits and legislation that would have shifted oversight of campaign finance away from the Secretary of State. The legislation was sponsored by former Sen. Dave Robertson (R-Grand Blanc), who at the time had his own campaign finance violations.
Both measures were ultimately vetoed by now former Gov. Rick Snyder.