With campaign contribution laws loosening, contributors across Metro Detroit and the nation gave more than $5.8 million combined to Mike Duggan's mayoral campaign fund or an independent Super PAC that supported him in the 2013 race, according to a joint report by Bridge magazine and WDET. Of the $5.8 million, interestingly, more money came from Bloomfield Hills than Detroit.
Sandra Svoboda of WDET and Mike Wilkinson of Bridge magazine report that thanks to a ground-breaking Supreme Court ruling in 2010 loosening regulations for contributions, Turnaround Detroit, an independent Super Pac designed to support Duggan, accounted for more than $3.8 million of his $5.8 million campaign contributions in 2013.
The authors write:
First the province of national and statewide campaigns following ground-shifting 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decisions, Super PACs brought million-dollar donations to Detroit, making it one of the first cities to adopt fundraising on a Super PAC scale.
“It’s still not the norm, but another five or 10 years from now, if national law were to stay the same, one would almost expect it would be de rigeur for Super PACs to be involving themselves in competitive mayoral races across the country,” says David Levinthal, senior political director at the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan national news organization that investigates the role of money in politics.
In a separate story, the two authors write that Duggan has created the "Detroit Progress Fund", a nonprofit formed in February to support “the Mayor of City of Detroit’s agenda.”
It's the same kind of fund that got Kwame Kilpatrick in trouble and brought Gov. Rick Snyder a lot criticism when he refused to disclose names of donors.
Duggan, according to the story, hopes to avoid the problems other politicians have faced by disclosing donors and showing how the money is spent.
In the story on campaign money, of Duggan's total contributions in the 2013 campaign, $1.4 million came from Bloomfield Hills; $1 million came from Detroit, $330,900 came from Orchard Lake and $224,240 from Birmingham.
Records show that auto magnet Roger Penske was the biggest contributor to Turnaround Detroit with $500,000, Bridge and WDET reported seven other people or organizations gave the Super Pac $100,000 or more, including DTE Energy, Compuware cofounder Peter Karmanos Jr., PVS Chemicals and the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Duggan's opponent, Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon benefited, from a PAC as well. The Super Pac, Detroit Forward, raised and spent more than $460,000 on his campaign, the article states.