Out-Of-State Money Fueled MCRI
Four of the top five contributors to the successful Michigan Civil
Rights Initiative (MCRI) of 2006, which accounted for 70 percent of the
ballot proposal's funding, came from out-of-state individuals or
interests, the Michigan Campaign Finance Network (MCFN) reported this
Known as Proposal 2, MCRI banned race-and gender-based affirmative
action programs in government hiring, contracts and university
admissions. The initiative passed despite being outspent by the
opposition by more than 3-to-1.
But almost 75 percent of the campaign's funding in the 2006 campaign
came from outside Michigan, with half of the money coming from
California-based American Civil Rights Coalition (ACRC) and its
organizer, Ward CONNERLY. Washington D.C.-based Center for Individual
Rights contributed $217,518 of the $1.393 million MCRI collected. John
ULRICH of Missouri kicked in $200,000 and George DANIELS of Florida
MCRI passed 58 to 42 percent.
The mainstream organization opposing MCRI, One United Michigan, raised
$4.54 million, donors to the organization were led by $331,000 from the
Michigan Democratic Party. Ford Motor Company, DaimlerChrysler and the
Law School Admissions Council each kicked in $250,000. Dow Chemical
Company and Greektown Casino each gave $200,000.
Other top contributors for One United Michigan included Hartford
Memorial Baptist Church ($184,000), Blue Cross/Blue Shield ($150,000),
Comerica ($150,000), Detroit Edison ($150,000), General Motors
($150,000) and the ACLU Fund ($125,126).
MCFN noted that MCRI had been in the works for three years prior to its
passage. Connerly and other proponents had raised and spent $1 million
by the end of 2004, including $700,000 from Connerly and the ACRC.
Opponents operating under the name of Citizens for a United Michigan
(CUM) spent more than $300,000 by the end of 2004. The big contributors
at that time included Detroit Renaissance ($200,000) and the Council of
State Universities ($50,000).
The second ballot proposal campaign significantly outspent in 2006 that
was victorious came with Proposal 5, the initiative to set mandatory
inflationary increases for education. Despite being out raised by more
than 2-to-1, the Stop K-16 Coalition stomped the pro-side 62 to 38
The big contributors to the $2 million effort were the Michigan Health
and Hospital Association ($740,000), the Michigan Association of
Realtors ($300,000), the Realtors PAC II ($200,000) and the two Michigan
Chamber of Commerce PACs ($364,292 combined).
The Citizens for Education raised $4.5 million, 75 percent of which
came from the National Education Association. The Michigan Education
Association kicked in $580,000 and the American Federation of Teachers
donated another $100,000.
The only other ballot initiative from 2006 in which substantial money
was spent was the effort to erase a limited dove hunting season from the
books. Fueled by the national and local humane societies, the
anti-Proposal 3 forces raised $2.334 million. The Humane Society of the
United States made up more than half of this money ($1.364 million). The
Humane Society's legislative fund made up another $208,000 and the Human
Society, itself, gave $76,000.
The pro-side raised $641,925 in one of the weakest campaigns of 2006.
The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance raised $164,600, the Ballot Issue
Coalition of Virginia donated $115,000 and the Citizens for Wildlife
Conservation gave $114,808. The Safari Clubs International gave $46,000
and the Safari Club of Flint gave $35,000. The Michigan United
Conservation Clubs kicked in $33,048.
MCFN also reported that the effort to repeal the state Single Business
Tax, organized by Oakland County Executive Brooks PATTERSON, raised
$780,000 in qualifying for the ballot. In the end, the Legislature
approved the citizens' petition, meaning the question never appeared
The big contributors included Working for Michigan's Future, a 501(c)4
organized by then-House Speaker Craig DeROCHE (R-Novi) ($135,000),
Richard DeVOS, Sr. ($50,000), the Anderson Economic Group ($26,265),
Kelly Services ($25,000), Kojaian Ventures ($25,000), Suburban
Automotive Consultant ($25,000) and Bob THOMPSON ($25,000).