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2004 Michigan Elections May have paved the way for medical industry groups getting their own legislation

June 9, 2009
money in, laws out
Image by Tobias Higbie via Flickr

It’s been an uphill battle to find out the campaign donation info for 2004, the year before legislation was enacted in MI that violates the constitutional rights of Michiganders, the statute of merit mandate that states that injured patients have to pay a doctor to say they can go to court (a judge has nothing to do with it).  I was also interested in the 2004 campaign finances to see if the local judges would be unable to hear a med mal case if they had indeed received large campaign contributions from medical industry groups.  Turns out, the political machinations designed to hide this information were set in 2004, and it’s tough to find:

Throughout 2003 and
2004, state elected officials held
fundraising events that brought in
millions of dollars. They passed
laws and wrote budgets that
determined economic winners and
losers. Interest groups handed out
campaign cash to legislators who
were acting on bills crucial to the
same interest groups.
But unless
they were among those facing the
electorate, the legislators didn’t
report any of it until a month
after they closed their books on
December 31st of each year. The
people and the press couldn’t see
who was giving what to whom
until long after policy decisions
had been made.

Ahh, but which industry groups made those contributions?  You wouldn’t think it would be so hard to trace this money trail back to campaign contributions, but it doesn’t seem as though the Michigan elected officials want the public to know who gave them money.  Trust me, I will find it, but how long will it take?

In 2004 alone, the unaccounted for campaign contributions paid to Michigan Supreme Court Justices topped out at over $9million dollars–that’s money that has been laundered by the political system to keep it free from dislosure:

For the third campaign in a
row, off-the-books spending in
the form of unreported television
advertising made up roughly half
the Michigan Supreme Court
campaign in 2004. Since 2000,
undisclosed contributors have
plowed more than $9 million
into Supreme Court campaigns,
and overall spending has topped
$21 million.

We’re not talking a couple hundreds of thousands of dollars that individuals collected with pie plates, we are talking over $20million dollars put into campaigns that hasn’t been accounted for.

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