Skip to comments.Billionare's PAC running ads attacking Republicans in (Michigan) Legislature
Posted on 10/25/2006 5:47:35 PM PDT by Extremely Extreme Extremist
Wednesday October 25, 2006
By DAVID EGGERT
Associated Press Writer
LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Republicans have good reason to be worried about an unprecedented and expensive ad campaign designed to help Democrats win control of the GOP-controlled Legislature for the first time in years.
Democratic billionaire Jon Stryker of Kalamazoo has given $4.6 million to the Michigan Coalition for Progress, a new political action committee he founded. The committee is targeting Republican incumbents in key legislative races with negative ads and campaign literature.
Stryker's sister Pat, who contributed another $500,000 to the PAC as of Wednesday's campaign finance deadline, helped bankroll a similar effort in 2004 that is credited with helping Democrats take back both the Colorado House and Senate for the first time in 42 years.
``It played a huge factor two years ago,'' Bryant Adams, spokesman for the Colorado Republican Party, says of the $1.6 million poured into legislative races by Pat Stryker and three other wealthy activists. ``It's tough sledding when you're going against people who have that kind of money.''
The Colorado GOP estimates the money helped give Democrats a three-to-one spending advantage in 2004 legislative races.
Michigan Republicans remain confident they'll maintain control of the 38-seat Senate, theirs since 1984, and the 110-seat House, which they've held since 1999. But they also see the Coalition for Progress as a threat warranting attention as the campaign season heads into its final week and a half.
Jon Stryker, whose grandfather founded the Kalamazoo-based medical products company Stryker Corp., is worth $1.8 billion, according to Forbes Magazine.
``The voters in Michigan are a smart bunch of people, but I do think the word needs to get out they are being manipulated by a billionaire,'' says House Speaker Craig DeRoche, R-Novi.
Republicans say the group is ultraliberal and extremist, and wants to buy a Democratic-led Legislature that will legalize gay marriage. They cite Stryker's prior campaign donations and his founding of the Arcus Foundation, which supports gay rights causes and gives money to gay and lesbian candidates.
Kerry Ebersole, the group's executive director, responds that Republicans are resorting to ``the politics of personal destruction'' and avoiding a discussion of real issues such as jobs and the environment.
``This is about holding folks accountable,'' Ebersole says. ``We're not talking about personal stuff. We're talking about issues that matter to our state.''
She notes there's a conservative group, Working for Michigan's Future, running ads against Democratic incumbents in the House.
The group doesn't have to disclose donors because it's not a political action committee, or PAC, but spokesman Bill Nowling says the money pays for less-expensive newspaper ads and doesn't come close to approaching Stryker's effort in scope.
The Coalition for Progress' TV and radio ads target at least 10 competitive districts across the state involving GOP incumbents, including Rep. David Farhat of Fruitport and Sens. Tom George of Portage, Laura Toy of Livonia and Gerald Van Woerkom of Norton Shores. George held a news conference Tuesday to dispute the ads, which he says are untruthful.
In the TV ads, a narrator singing in an operatic voice accuses Republican lawmakers of giving tax breaks to companies that outsource jobs, not doing enough to stop Canadian and out-of-state trash from being dumped in Michigan, and backing a state law that protects drug makers from lawsuits. The cartoon ads show elephants dressed up like lawmakers to make the point.
TV ads have grown increasingly common in state legislative races as campaign spending has increased and the fight for legislative control has grown more intense. But the money being spent by the Coalition for Progress is attracting extra attention even as other groups have increased their spending.
The Strykers' money accounts for 99 percent of the $5.2 billion the PAC has raised since it was formed in August.
Republicans, who typically have a fundraising edge over Democrats, estimate the Coalition for Progress has bought more than $3 million worth of TV ads. Wednesday's campaign finance deadline appears to confirm that, as the group reported spending $4 million overall, much of it on ads.
``That is an enormous amount of money,'' says Rich Robinson of the nonpartisan Michigan Campaign Finance Network.
He notes that Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land was helped in 2002 when her husband gave $540,000 to a PAC that made independent expenditures supporting Land's campaign. Greektown entrepreneurs Jim Papas and Ted Gatzoros gave $910,000 to a PAC backing former Gov. Jim Blanchard in his failed 2002 gubernatorial primary bid.
But those campaigns were for statewide offices, Robinson says, not individual legislative races that usually attract far less money.
Individuals can give no more than $3,400 each to campaigns. But forming independent PACs is a legal way to get around the limit.
But ... but ... I thought CFR was supposed to take all this big money out of politics!
LOL! I thought so too!
Michigan's Stryker family may have links to a fraud case in South Dakota involving Medicare and the Stryker Corp.
Stryker is a medical products company.
Jon Stryker has contributed to groups protecting gay rights.
Anti-gay rights U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., has called for an investigation into the fraud case to see if it extends further...
The fraud case reportedly involves a medical clinic in South Dakota and the Stryker Corp. aggreeing to repay Medicare $345,000.
The government says the clinic took money from the Stryker Corp. in exchange for using the company's orthopedic products.
Aren't the democraps the ones crying about DeVos buying the election?
"Stryker's sister Pat, who contributed another $500,000 to the PAC..."
"The Strykers' money accounts for 99 percent of the $5.2 billion (?) the PAC has raised since it was formed in August."
Hmmm, $5.2 BILLION? This report was brought to you by:
By DAVID EGGERT
Associated Press Writer
What crappy reporting.
Thanks for the post; thanks for the information. Interesting.