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About $114,000 in political campaign donations has been used by state Senator Jim Marleau (R-Bloomfield Township, Lake Orion, Clarkston) to pay off credit card debt since 2011, according to recent news reports, for things like clothes and meals at McDonald’s. But here’s the rub. State law prohibits elected officials from using campaign funds to pay for personal expenses. Campaign finance records filed with the Michigan Secretary of State indicate Marleau had been notified of the issue for years. In August, the state sent a notice to Marleau’s committee – which is basically him, as he’s listed as the committee’s treasurer – stating that an amended statement must be filed by September 13 or state law “requires this office to refer this matter to the Attorney General.” Political consultant Denise DeCook, a senior director at Sterling Corporation, said she is working with Marleau’s office and professional accountants on the matter. “We haven’t gotten anything back yet, but they are plowing through the information,” she said. DeCook said it’s fairly common for issues to arise when a campaign uses an internal worker or volunteer to handle campaign finance reporting, rather than a professional bookkeeper or accountant. Hmm. Marleau is a former township treasurer and retired small business owner.


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