THE PLOT THICKENS

Craig Mauger of The Detroit News received SPJ recognition for the following type of effort, first reported in early June. The Michigan Secretary of State chief legal director, Michael Brady, is stepping up formal review of two groups, Michigan! My Michigan! and Michigan Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility, for failure to respond to multiple request for copies of donations made to Unlock Michigan, which ran a petition drive that helped repeal the 1945 law that gave executive power to Michigan governors in time of emergencies. The first two groups, one of which has at least some ties to Michigan Senate Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake), do not have to divulge donors under Michigan law, but it would appear the groups could have coordinated fundraising to benefit the Unlock Michigan petition group, which must divulge donors, according to a complaint filed by Bob LaBrant, an election expert who has past ties to the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. Total contributions from the two groups are about $2.65 million. Shirkey has labeled the challenge as pure politics. But let’s see the final resolution of this case, which could impact the future of dark money donations for the future in the state.

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