Rural Michigan mining interests pump money into Detroit Congressional race

July 26, 2022, 12:04 AM

If you’re a 13th Congressional District resident who regularly checks their mail, you've likely been spammed in recent weeks with missives for Adam Hollier, a leading contender in a field of eight primary candidates vying for Rashida Tlaib's old seat. 

According to the Free Press' ML Elrick, nebulous political action committees aligned with the state senator have spent nearly $5 million in an effort to boost him or thwart state Rep. Shri Thanedar, a leading opponent and millionaire who said early on he'd spend about as much of his own fortune to win.

As of Tuesday, the United Democracy Project spent more than $3.1 million on Hollier's behalf. The Protect Our Future Political Action Committee is spending more than $750,000 to support Hollier. And VoteVets, which endorsed Hollier, reported spending about $750,000 opposing Thanedar. 

Some of Hollier's support is coming from curious places — namely affiliates of a typically Republican donor, Edward C. Levy Jr., whose company stands to benefit from a Hollier proposal that would clear the way for its planned gravel mine in rural Michigan. The legislation would reportedly put state environmental officials in charge of mining decisions, rather than localities. 

Environmentalists in the village of Metamora rebuked Hollier for the effort. One tells Freep he's "shocked" to see "a senator from right in the middle of Detroit that doesn't have gravel in the middle of his backyard ... take up this cause." 

Hollier tried to spin his bill as a way to give communities with less political agency more say in such processes.

Regardless of motive, the move seems to have reaped dividends:

... Levy, Linda Levy and two Levy executives gave generously to Hollier's congressional campaign: The Levys contributed $5,500 each, and (company executives) Eliot Weiner and Evan Weiner each contributed the maximum allowable amount of $5,800.

Levy also gave $250,000 to the United Democracy Project Super PAC and $20,000 to the Democratic Majority for Israel PAC. The United Democracy Project PAC has spent at least $3.1 million boosting Hollier's congressional aspirations with political advertising. The DMFI political action committee endorsed Hollier and donated $2,000 to his campaign.

Evan Weiner gave $25,000 to the United Democracy Project.

Read more:  Detroit Free Press

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