Runestad drafting bill to limit recall campaign contributions, strengthen election integrity

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Runestad has announced that he is drafting a bill to limit campaign contributions made to elected officials facing recall efforts and to restore integrity to campaign fundraising.

Under Runestad’s plan, any money donated to an anti-recall effort above campaign contribution limits, currently $7,150 for gubernatorial campaigns, would have to be placed into a separate account and be returned to donors if no recall effort is undertaken.

“It has recently come to light that Michigan’s governor has misused a nearly 40-year-old declaratory ruling to receive millions in out-of-state campaign contributions for her reelection campaign,” said Runestad, R-White Lake. “This unorthodox flood of funds into one candidate’s campaign is a direct attack on measures set forth to ensure fair elections in this state.”

Campaign contribution reports filed this month revealed Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is not observing the donation limits that normally apply to candidates under Michigan law as she has reported receiving millions more than would normally be allowed. She has pointed to 1983 and 1984 declaratory rulings by former Michigan Secretary of State Richard Austin related to candidates facing recall elections.

“This disingenuous interpretation of these declaratory rulings is slap in the face to campaign finance law, misleading to donors and, ultimately, is harmful to voters, who should be able to trust that their candidates are playing by the same rules and are competing fairly,” Runestad said.

“Any funds raised to combat a recall effort should be accounted for separately from general campaign funds and returned to donors if a recall effort never materializes.”

The legislation is expected to be ready for introduction at the end of August.

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