Campaign Disclosures Reveal Donations by Companies with Business before Council

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Friday, July 3, 2015, 12:20 am
By: 
Alice Dreger

Image: Nathan Triplett and Susan Woods during the Council debate last November on campaign donation disclosure

As ELi previously reported as part of our regular, in-depth City Council coverage for our readers, last November the current City Council debated “how, if at all, it should work to make sure East Lansing citizens know from whom Councilmembers have taken campaign contributions.”

This came up because Councilmember Ruth Beier then proposed an amendment to the Code of Ethics aimed at requiring Councilmembers to publicly disclose during Council meetings when they were discussing and/or taking action on business from a company whose owners or employees had donated money to that Councilmember’s campaign.

After much debate, the East Lansing City Council decided against Beier’s suggestion. Council decided instead to have the City website simply include a hotlink to the Ingham County Clerk’s website, where campaign finance information is recorded in a rather difficult-to-access manner. (PDF’s of campaign correspondence exist there, but they are non-searchable scans.)

Because Council declined to follow Beier’s suggestion, no real-time disclosure of financial contributions is required and no recusal is required, although a Councilmember could, of course, decide to disclose and/or recuse herself or himself if someone with commercial business before Council donated to her or his campaign. In practice, there have been no disclosures and no recusals at City Council meetings because of campaign contributions.

Following a cascade of questions from ELi readers starting with a question about who funded City Councilmember Susan Woods’ campaign, I’ve now analyzed for ELi’s readers the most recent campaigns of all of the current East Lansing City Councilmembers. Below you will find a summary comparison of key data points of campaign financing for our current City Council members. (See also our individual reports on the campaigns of Susan Woods, Ruth Beier, Nathan Triplett, Kathy Boyle, and Diane Goddeeris.)

This five-week analysis has resulted in a clearer picture of who has had active commercial business before the City or Council, and so has revealed what kinds of financial relationships might have been disclosed had the Council decided to adopt Beier’s amendment to the Code of Ethics. We also provide the following chart because it helps readers to see the range of campaign financing realities among current City Council members.

ELi will be tracking campaign financing among those running for City Council in the election slated for this November. Keep in mind, however, that some candidates file complete disclosures after the election occurs (for example, the majority of Woods donations were recorded as happening on the day of the election), making it impossible for voters to see from whom candidates have accepted money before voters go to the polls.

 

Member

Total cash raised in last campaign

% donations from East Lansing residents with no apparent financial commercial business before Council or City

% donations from individuals with known business dealings with the City

Beier

$8,339

11.5%

0%

Boyle

$4,385

73%

2.3%

Goddeeris

$0

n/a

n/a

Triplett

$12,060

30%

6.8%

Woods

$11,929

1%

52.3%

 

Member

Funding from PACs, other political campaigns, and lobbyists

Donors with known financial commercial business before Council or City

Beier

Michigan Education Association PAC

Lansing Area for Human Rights PAC

none

Boyle

White, Schneider, Young & Chiodini PAC

Ingham-Clinton Educators’ PAC

Lansing Area for Human Rights PAC

UAW Michigan V-PAC

George Brookover, attorney

Goddeeris

none

none

Triplett

IBEW-COPE

Whitmer Leadership Fund

Martin Griffin for State Representative

Celentino for Commissioner

Kevin McKinney, lobbyist

Friends of Rebecca Bahar-Cook

SEIU Local 517 PAC

Citizens to Elect Brian McGrain

Curtis Hertel Jr. for Register of Deeds

Friends of Carol Koenig

Barb Byrum for State Representative

Lansing Area for Human Rights PAC

Equality Michigan Pride PAC

Jim Little (owner of H&H Mobil; City calls H&H for tows of illegally parked cars)

Joe McGuire (Wolverine Development)

Kevin McGraw (River Caddis development company; Trowbridge project; Lake Lansing Road/Coolidge project)

David Krause (developer, Cron Management; many downtown projects including a new one now before Council; also Stonehouse Village; also The Residences)

Woods

none

Rebecca Randall (office manager for Community Resource Management, a major landlord)

Kristine Olson (quality manager for QCI)

Nancy Marr (president, Prime Housing Group)

Lucille Baker (owner, Prime Housing Group)

Thomas Kuschinski (president of DTN; projects before Council include Park District and Gateway)

Colin Cronin (vice president of DTN; projects before Council include Park District and Gateway)

Owen and Melinda Irvine (landlords)

Jeffrey and David Hudgins (DJK Realty; landlords)

Matt, Jim, and Brian Hagen (Hagan Reality; landlords and developers)

David Gutow (Gutow Management; landlord)

Nancy Cuddeback (wife of Jim Cuddeback, landlord)

 

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