Sunday, November 05, 2006

Just Say NO to Dick and YES to Jen - Reason #2

Campaigns - want to know who's really involved?
Follow the money
The mighty dollar speaks much louder than any sound bite or slogan.
Based on these money trails, which candidate would you rather have working for you?

Dick DeVos = ultra-conservative, out-of-touch, criminally-affliated, laden with special interests.

Jennifer Granholm = progressive, supported by working classes, enriched with hard work and old fashioned elblow grease.

2. Dick DeVos is not working for the people of Michigan, and we can't trust him.

The DeVos campaign has already spent over $39 million on the race, easily the most in Michigan history. In this reporting cycle alone the campaign spent over $18 million. On thirteen different occasions, DeVos wrote seven-figure checks to his own campaign, including one for $9 million on September 8. DeVos has personally given almost $35 million to his campaign, which represents well over 80 percent of the total campaign contributions. (DeVos for Governor Campaign Finance Report 10/06)

Dick DeVos had personal meetings with Tom DeLay on DeVos’ yacht.
DeLay, a former Amway distributor, was indicted on a state law charge of conspiracy to illegally use soft money. (Washington Post, 5/15/00; Fox News Special Report with Brit Hume 5/20/99)

According to campaign finance reports, DeVos and his Political Action Committee (PAC), Restoring the American Dream exchanged thousands of dollars with DeLay, his campaign committee and his PAC, Americans for a Republican Majority. DeVos gave the Tom DeLay Congressional Committee $1,000 in 2000, DeLay’s PAC $5,000 in 1999 and DeLay’s legal defense fund $5,000.

DeLay’s PAC in turn gave DeVos’ PAC $5,000 over the course of two weeks in the fall of 2000. (Federal Election Commission Disclosure Database and

Dick DeVos held a yacht party for convicted felon and lobbyist Jack Abramoff. It was hosted on the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., “to launch a new fund-raising drive for GOP House conservatives. Many of the guests were heavy hitters from the Religious Right. But when pledge time came, the first to sign up was no churchgoer. It was Jack Abramoff, an Orthodox Jewish lobbyist who is among the right wing's most aggressive fund-raisers.” (Business Week, July 5, 1999)

"Three months after the DeVos' $ 1 million GOP donation, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and House Speaker Newt Gingrich put a last-minute provision onto the compromise tax bill that gave Amway a $19 million tax break on its Asian branches, the magazine reported." (Associated Press, 10/28/98)

The DeVos family is one of a handful of super-wealthy families lobbying for the repeal of the federal estate tax. The tax affects only 8,200 families in the entire country, and the repeal would save the Amway heirs approximately $1.3 billion. The report revealed Amway first lobbied on the estate tax under Dick DeVos’ presidency in 1998 and has lobbied every year since. (Public Citizen Report, April 2006)

"Amway, its parent company, Alticor and their family owners have given at least $7.5 million to federal campaigns since 1990. [The Alticor PAC is called “ALTIPAC."] All of it went to Republicans and most was soft money -- cash or assets given to political action committees or parties and not directly to candidates or their committees."(Detroit Free Press, 6/18/06)

"Restoring the American Dream, a PAC created by gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos, has given $1 million to scores of Republican candidates around the country, mostly those running for the U.S. House and Senate. The PAC received $180,000 from DeVos family members." (Detroit Free Press, 6/18/06)

In total, Dick DeVos and family members contributed more than $4.7 million in the 2004 election cycle alone. (Detroit Free Press, 6/18/06)

Dick DeVos and his family were the largest contributors in the nation to the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign in 2000, giving $602,000. (The Wall Street Journal, 12/28/00)

2. Jennifer Granholm, candidate for the people, by the people, always putting Michigan first.

Governor Granholm has raised $13.8 million from 30,323 donors. 16,444 donors have given $100 or less. Governor Granholm has received contributions from every county in Michigan. (Granholm Campaign Finance Report 10/27/06)

Jennifer Granholm believes in a strong campaign finance reform package, something that Dick DeVos stands against.

Comparison of Proposed Ethics Reforms


Governor Granholm

Dick DeVos

Financial Disclosure

Comprehensive disclosure for all state elected officials and candidates of financial and business interests and holdings as required for federal officials and candidates.


All candidates for Governor must release tax returns for 3 prior years. Pres. Bush & Cheney release their tax returns.

No disclosure of tax returns.

Political-Contribution- Free Zones in Government Buildings

Prohibit candidates or agents from accepting or soliciting political contributions in government buildings.

Prohibit lobbyists or agents from delivering political contributions in government buildings.

No new prohibitions on campaign contribution / solicitation.

Ban Paid Speaking Fees

Extend ban on paid speaking fees (honoraria)

No new restrictions on paid speaking fees.

Ethics in State Contracting

Eliminate no-bid contracts.

Prohibit state contract managers from soliciting or accepting political contributions from state vendors.

Require contract managers to disclose conflicts of interest in writing and abstain when a conflict of interest exists.

Prohibit state contract managers from seeking/negotiating job offers from state vendors.

“A DeVos administration will prohibit state contractors from giving to gubernatorial campaigns.”

New Legislative Ethics Act

Create clear standards on ethics and conflicts of interests for legislators.

Require legislators with conflict of interest to disclose conflict in writing and abstain from voting or chairing committee hearing relating to conflict.

Create new bipartisan legislative ethics committee to enforce compliance and include penalties for violations.

No new ethics / conflicts of interest standards for legislators.

New Ethics Act for Executive Branch Officials and Employees

Create clear standards on ethics and conflicts of interest for elected executive branch officials and employees.

Require written disclosure of conflicts of interest.

Enhance powers of State Board of Ethics and require referral of criminal matters to prosecutors.

No new ethics / conflicts of interest standards for executive branch officials or candidates.

Lobbying Ban

Prohibit elected officials or state department directors from lobbying for 1 year after leaving government. (HB 4226 – Ward, Passed House 98-9 in Feb. 2005)

“A DeVos administration will require a three-year wait before government officials can become lobbyists.”

Robo-Call Disclosure

Require full disclosure of recorded telephone communications in elections, including who paid for and authorized the calls.

No robo-call disclosure.

Lobbyist Funded Activities

Require full financial disclosure.

“A DeVos administration will ban all tickets and trips for government officials from lobbyists.”

Sources: Detroit News 4/22/06, Granholm for Governor 10/06,

Who's looking out for your best interests?