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LEFTOVER CAMPAIGN FUNDS


No one really talks about one aspect of those who call it quits and leave public office – the left over cash on hand that candidates have amassed. Take former congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield) who did not seek reelection in 2020. She currently sits with $825,000 cash on hand, after paying off any lingering bills for her past campaign committee. And that’s after being generous in her donations (up to $2,000 per candidates by law) to a handful of Dem candidates in the 2020 contests, like Dale Kildee and Elissa Slotkin, to mention just a couple. And then there’s the Michigan Democratic Party, which received a $50,000 donation from Lawrence in the most recent election cycle. While the former congresswoman’s leftover funds seem eye-popping, consider the case of Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) who will not be seeking a return to office next year. Her cash on hand, according to the Federal Elections Commission end-of-year report, a staggering $4.45 million. But trust that no one is walking away with the spoils of a past election effort. The rules are pretty tight to prevent personal expenses from being underwritten. Paying for continuing expenses of offices and personnel are still allowed, and there is the allowed creation of a Leadership PAC, basically a slush fund which can be used to back other candidates or issues. Leftover campaign money can also be donated to charities and there’s no cap on donations to local, state or national political parties. Or the funds can just be held to accrue interest while the former office holder decides what to do with the leftover campaign donations in the future. We’ll check in periodically to see what path Lawrence and Stabenow take.

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